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Baltic Sea countries respond warily to a reported Russian proposition to modify its maritime border

Baltic Sea nations react warily to a reported Russian proposal to revise its maritime border

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Leaders around the Baltic Sea responded warily Wednesday to reports that Russia might modify the borders of its territorial waters in the area, with Lithuania’s foreign minister calling it an “apparent escalation” that need to be consulted with an “properly firm action.”

In a draft proposition reported by some Russian media, Russia’s Defense Ministry recommends upgrading the collaborates utilized to determine the strip of territorial waters off its mainland coast which of its islands in the Baltic Sea. The existing collaborates were authorized in 1985, the ministry states; including they were “based upon small nautical navigation maps” and do not represent the “contemporary geographical scenario.”

It wasn’t right away clear from the draft whether the proposed modifications would move the border or simply clarify it.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson stated Russia had actually signed a United Nations convention that manages how to make such modifications. “Both we and Finland presume that Russia — which is a signatory celebration to that convention — measures up to that obligation,” he stated, according to Swedish news firm TT.

If Russians were to challenge borders, “then Russia breaches a U.N. convention, then Russia has the entire world versus it,” Finland’s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen stated, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.

She stated, nevertheless, it likely was a regular act by Russia and not a justification.

Finnish President Alexander Stubb composed on X that Russia had actually not touched with Finland on the matter. “Finland functions as constantly: calmly and based upon realities,” he composed.

Likewise on X, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis asserted that Russia was “trying to spread out worry, unpredictability and doubt about their objectives in the Baltic Sea.” There has actually been excellent issue in Lithuania about Russian soldiers’ newest gains in northeastern Ukraine.

The Baltic News Service stated Lithuania summoned the Russian agent for an in-depth description.

Nevertheless, Russia’s Interfax news firm later on Wednesday pointed out an unnamed military diplomatic source as stating Moscow does not mean to modify the border or the width of its territorial waters.

Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov informed press reporters there was “absolutely nothing political” in the Defense Ministry’s proposition.

“You see how stress and the level of conflict are intensifying, specifically in the Baltic area. This needs proper actions from our appropriate bodies to guarantee our security,” Peskov stated.

Given that Russia’s full-blown intrusion of Ukraine in early 2022, Finland and Sweden have actually signed up with NATO. The Baltic Sea — Russia’s maritime point of access to the city of St. Petersburg and its Kaliningrad enclave — is now practically surrounded by members of the military alliance.

Kaliningrad is sandwiched in between Lithuania to the north and east and Poland to the south. It is home to the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet.

___ Dasha Litvinova in Tallinn, Estonia, added to this report.

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