Nordic-Baltic countries discuss building of ‘drone wall’ along border to Russia

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - May 27, 2024
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Drone flying in Arctic Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Six NATO countries with a border to Russia agree to strengthen cooperation about security measures.

Threats from the East were on top of the agenda as justice ministry representatives from six allied countries with border to Russia last week met in Riga, Latvia.

According to Lithuanian Minister of the Interior, Agnė Bilotaitė, Moscow is actively seeking to destabilize internal security in Baltic and Nordic region.

“We see the continuous efforts of the Russian and Belarusian regimes to destabilize the internal security and public order of our countries, to create panic and mistrust in the institutions,” she said in a statement.

“The entire region is facing similar threats coordinated by Russia and Belarus – instrumentalization of migration, cyber attacks, disinformation, sabotage of critical infrastructure and other hybrid threats.”

Among the proposals raised from the Lithuanian side is the establishment of a joint ‘drone wall’ along the countries’ eastern border.

The drone cooperation could stretch “along the entire external border with Russia and Belarus, from Norway to Poland,” Minister A. Bilotaitė argues.

The representatives of the Nordic-Baltic countries also discussed various other security aspects in the border areas to Russia, including joint procedures on evacuation of people in emergency situations.

According to the Lithuanians, a joint mass evacuation exercise should be organised on the regional level.

 

Nordic-Baltic justice ministry representatives meeting in Riga. Among them Lithuanian Justice Minister Agnė Bilotaitė (center) and Norwegian Deputy Minister Even Eriksen (second from right). Photo: Lithuanian Justice Ministry

In a comment to the Barents Observer, Deputy Minister Even Eriksen underlines that the government representatives did not sign any agreement in the meeting. But he confirms that the they all agree to cooperate about security measures, including protection against drones.

“In the meeting in Riga, joint challenges between Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland were discussed, including concrete threats from use of dones, both by criminals and other countries. The countries agree to share experiences and knowledge and possibly develop joint measures to counter threats from such drone activity,” he says.

At the same time, Eriksen explains that Norway might ultimately choose another path than the Baltic states.

“It is important that each country assesses the concrete challenges on its border and takes measures deemed necessary based on the concrete situation,” he says.

“There was not concluded any concrete agreement with measures in this meeting,” he reiterates.

Eriksen does not want to answer questions about the possible setup of anti-drone measures on Norway’s border to Russia, nor about a joint drone cooperation with nearby Finland.

Norway has a 198 km long eastern border with Russia that runs through rivers and rough Arctic terrain.

Security cooperation between the Nordic and Baltic countries has been significantly strengthened follow Russia’s full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine. The Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden and regular meetings are held between prime ministers, parliaments and ministries.

The meeting between the justice ministries was the second of its kind. The first took place in October 2023.


Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

As a non-profit stock company that is fully owned by its reporters, its editorial decisions are free of regional, national or private-sector influence. It has been a partner to ABJ and its predecessors since 2016.