The European Union on Friday denounced Russia's removal of buoys marking the border with Estonia on the Narva River.

"This border incident is part of a broader pattern of provocative behaviour and hybrid actions by Russia, including on its maritime and land borders in the Baltic Sea region. Such actions are unacceptable," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

Estonia said Thursday Russian border guards in a predawn operation had removed the buoys from the Narva River which separates the two neighbours.

It said that, since Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, tensions with Moscow have risen over that border area.

Russia has contested the placement of the floating markers, used to keep boats from accidentally straying into foreign waters, and disagreed with the planned locations of around half the buoys, Estonia's border guard service said.


Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has said her country was trying to clarify the situation with Russia.

She said it appeared to be part of a "broader pattern" of action by Moscow to use "tools related to the border to create fear and anxiety".

Estonia's foreign ministry said it was treating the move as a "provocative border incident".

It will tell Russia that "such actions are unacceptable" and demand the "immediate return" of the buoys, it said in a statement, adding that it remained in contact with allies on the issue.

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