- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Estonia is planning to cover a 136-kilometer (84-mile) stretch of land along its border with Russia with state-of-art technology to combat illegal border-crossing and illicit traffic, government officials said Friday.

The Border Police said the surveillance, including sensors, cameras and radars, would beef up security at the border of the European Union member.

Part of the stretch would include fences, possibly with barbed wire, Interior Ministry spokesman Tex Vertmann said.

Some 80 kilometers of land had already been cleared, and buoys will be installed to mark the border on rivers and lakes.

“It is a step-by-step process. Now we have cleared most of the land and we will eventually decide what will be put up,” Vertmann told The Associated Press. At least 10 meters of border area will be cleared from forest and brush to make visible the border strip, he added.

“This is the EU’s external border and we must protect our border,” said Vertmann.

Estonia’s border with Russia runs 290 kilometers (180 miles) of which 136 kilometers is on land. Lake Peipus sits on the border and is the biggest transboundary lake in Europe.

Estonia, a former Soviet republic, has been unsettled by tensions in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. This month, an Estonian security service officer was sentenced in Russia for spying in a case that Estonia dismissed as revenge for his investigation into a Russian smuggling ring on the border.

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