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President Kaljulaid consents to the involvement of Defence League in restoring border controls


President Kersti Kaljulaid has today granted consent to the Minister of the Interior for up to 150 members of the Defence League to be drafted in to support the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) in restoring border controls. The members of the Defence League have also been granted the right to use force.

The members of the Defence League will first and foremost be deployed along Estonia’s southern border to support the PBGB in temporarily closing roads crossing the border and to assist officers at border crossing points. President Kaljulaid also spoke with Minister of the Interior Mart Helme over the telephone this morning about the involvement of the Defence League members and domestic security issues in general.

“It goes without saying that the state of emergency and the establishment of restrictions on movement on our borders and on the islands have significantly increased the workload of our police officers and border guards,” the Head of State said. “In such a situation we have to use the resources of the state flexibly, and getting the Defence League involved is something that’s been practised during manoeuvres and also been used before in exceptional circumstances. That said, it’s very important in getting the Defence League involved that everyone remembers the lead role in managing operations and making key decisions is still being played by the PBGB.”

President Kaljulaid added that Defence League volunteers have been helping to resolve the current crisis since last week, albeit without the right to use force. “This decision will increase their workload even further,” she said. “I wish all of the members of the Defence League and the volunteers` fortitude and good health at such a complicated time. And I’d like to thank those who have already made their own contributions as volunteers.”

In accordance with the Law Enforcement Act, members of the Defence Forces and Defence League may be drafted in to assist the PBGB, with the right to use force, with the consent of the President of the Republic and by a decision of the Government of the Republic.

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