Panic of Russian attack: Estonia wants to modernize system of air raid shelters

In view of the conflict in Ukraine, according to the Ministry of the Interior, Estonia wants to modernize its protective infrastructure. Work has already begun on completing shelters in the event of an air raid. However, it will take several years to build a network of shelters.

The Estonian government is rushing to find facilities such as public buildings, schools and shopping malls that could serve as air raid shelters for the population. Already since June, dozens of colorful signs have appeared on Estonian roads – blue triangles on an orange background. They mark the public shelters where people could seek safety in the event of a rocket attack.

According to Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets, ten years ago the prevailing opinion was that there were no more conventional combat operations and rocket attacks. Nowadays, however, protective measures would have to be considered again.

“Even if there is no war right now, that doesn’t mean we don’t have to prepare for the worst.”

Despite UN statement: Lithuania dismantles another monument to Soviet soldiers

Despite UN statement: Lithuania dismantles another monument to Soviet soldiers

In October, the interior ministers of the Baltic States and Poland visited Finland. The authorities in Helsinki had started modernizing more than 50,000 civil defense bunkers, all of which had been built over the past eighty years. The plans of Estonia were partly shaped by the example of Finland.

According to Läänemets, this trip showed, among other things, that Estonia had neglected its protective infrastructure over the past thirty years.

“It will take a few years for us to provide basic shelters in apartment buildings. It will take decades for us to build a network of highly secure, purpose-built shelters.”

Despite this, the Estonian leadership has emphasized several times that Russia currently does not pose a direct threat to the country. NATO currently offers the highest possible protection guarantee. In addition, the Russian 76th Air Assault Division, normally stationed about forty kilometers from the Estonian border, was largely deployed to Ukraine.

Among the dozens of sites recently designated as public shelters in Estonia is a system of tunnels under a 17th-century fortress in Narva, a town on the border with Russia. Several hundred people could be accommodated in the bastion.

Estonia has long had a complicated relationship with Russia. The Russian invasion of Ukraine shook the country deeply. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has said that a possible attack by Russia would completely destroy Estonia given its size and defense capabilities.

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