MILAN — Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have approved the construction of defensive installations alongside their borders with Russia and Belarus, which will include a network of bunkers.
“Russia’s war in Ukraine has shown that in addition to equipment, ammunition, and manpower, physical defensive installations on the border are also needed to defend Estonia from the first meter,” Estonian Defence Minster Hanno Pevkur said in a news release.
The agreement, signed by the three Baltic defense ministers, calls for the construction of “anti-mobility defensive installations” on their respective frontiers with Russia and Belarus, who are allies. The border security measures are meant to deter and counter military threats.
The timeline provided for the construction was not specific, but rather said the countries will establish the infrastructure in the coming years. It is to include in part a network of bunkers, support points and distribution lines.
The Estonian Defence Ministry further indicated in a statement that in “peacetime, no explosives, cutting wires or other obstacles are placed on the border of Estonia.”
Estonian Public Broadcasting service ERR News reported the building of the bunkers will begin in early 2025. The organization also said the cost of the defensive facilities is estimated at €60 million (U.S. $65 million), but it’s unclear if that price tag applies to just the bunkers or more.
The border plan builds on commitments made by allies at the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain, where alliance members agreed that they each must be ready to defend their territory from the onset of an attack in order to halt or repel enemy troops.
In similar fashion, Finland in 2022 began building a border barrier alongside Russia, which is to be about 124 miles.
The Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian defense ministers also signed a letter of intent on Friday for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to establish a framework for the joint use of the systems.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.