"Hybrid Pressure": Russian Proposal To Change Baltic Sea Border Briefly Appears Online

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, May 24, 2024 - 06:45 AM

Russia just gave its Baltic neighbors a big scare this week, after a new draft decree appeared on a government website published by the defense ministry which proposed redrawing 100+ year old borders around Russian islands in the Gulf of Finland as well as around the exclave of Kaliningrad.

The draft appeared briefly on Russia's TASS news agency only to disappear by Wednesday, where a page at the link said "draft deleted". Russian media has since denied that there are any such plans to move sea borders deeper into Baltic waters.

Maritime boundaries in the Baltic Sea. Source: The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission

The now deleted draft suggested a maritime border change would "correspond to the modern geographical situation"; however, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov downplayed it saying "there is nothing political here".

But Peskov also added the caveat that the political situation in the region had changed since the 1980s: "You can see the level of confrontation, especially in the Baltic region," he stated in response to questions.

Finland, Lithuania, and Sweden raised the alarm over what they see as a subtle threat and Kremlin effort to sow confusion and instability:

A Russian Defense Ministry proposal to redraw Russia’s maritime borders in the Baltic Sea has sparked concern from Moscow’s neighbors in the region, with officials from Finland to Lithuania decrying what they describe as an attempt to sow confusion and destabilize regional security.

While the Kremlin insisted Wednesday that the government draft resolution was not politically motivated, experts told The Moscow Times that the proposed changes could be used to put pressure on Russia’s western neighbors — all of whom are EU and NATO members.

“This is an issue that shows Russia can and is going to create problems and disputes where the situation was already unproblematic,” said Arkady Moshes, who heads the Russia program at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA).

“So it’s a part of this hybrid pressure,” he told The Moscow Times.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in the wake of the controversy, "This is an obvious escalation against NATO and the EU, and must be met with an appropriately firm response." Finland’s Foreign Ministry decried it as "a form of hybrid influencing" - and Sweden warned it can be seen as an expansionist move.

Below is some of what the since deleted document outlined...