Lithuania’s border fence with Russia to be completed this week

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Lithuania’s border fence with Russia to be completed this week

Checkpoint at the Lithuanian- Russian (Kaliningrad) border.

VILNIUS – Lithuanian border guards say a fence with Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave will be completed this week.
Lithuania began building the two-meter wire fence in June. It stretches some 45 kilometers (28 miles) along the dry-land portions of the border. Surveillance systems are already in place on the 109-kilometer river section of the border, the Baltic Times reports.
The fence is mainly designed to curb smuggling and prevent entry by illegal migrants, the Baltic Times says. Reuters cited Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas as saying in June that it would serve to prevent provocations and incidents rather than defend against a full-scale attack.
In August, Misiunas told the Guardian that the fence would serve other purposes as well.
“Estonia accused Russia of abducting an intelligence officer and we in Lithuania don’t want this to happen with Lithuanian officers. It is like a red line for Russia.”
Estonia’s relations with Moscow took a nosedive in 2014 when Russia arrested Estonian counterintelligence officer Eston Kohver, saying he was on its side of the border, a claim Tallinn denied.
Estonia said Kohver, who was sent home in 2015 in a spy swap, had been investigating smuggling on the border.
Some opposition politicians and border residents dismiss the fence as a waste of money, the Guardian wrote.
Russian media reports earlier this month said Moscow would deploy Iskander tactical ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad early next year.
Lithuania has also boosted security on its border with Belarus this year, the Baltic Times says.
A proposed amendment to force Lithuanian radio and television channels to provide subtitles for all programs and movies not in an official EU language will be considered by parliamentary committees, a separate Baltic Times story reports. The author of the amendment, conservative parliamentarian Laurynas Kasciunas, said the rule was aimed at reducing the amount of Russian-language content on the airwaves.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer/TOL 

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