Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves tweeted this morning that an Estonian counterintelligence officer was abducted at gunpoint and taken across the border into Russia.
The officer was part of the Internal Security Service (ISS), the national agency in Estonia for counterintelligence and corruption investigations. The officer was leaving a security checkpoint after investigating an incident on the Estonian side of the Luhamaa border checkpoint with Russia when he was taken on the morning of September 5th.
According to ERR Estonian Public Broadcasting, communications on the Estonian side of the border were jammed and smoke grenades were used during the abduction.
Arnold Sinisalu, director general of the ISS, said there were signs of a violent struggle.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet has released a statement saying that “this is a very galling incident. We expect full assistance and cooperation from Russia in resolving the incident and bringing the Estonian citizen back to Estonia.”
Estonia has summoned Russia’s ambassador to the country, Yuri Merzlyakov, to explain the incident.
The incident occurs during a time of heightened tensions between the Baltic States and Russia. President Barack Obama visited Estonia on September 2nd and pledged to protect Estonia, and the other Baltic countries, from the possibility of renewed Russian aggression.
Estonia is a member of NATO, and the other NATO states are obligated to defend it if it were ever invaded.
The country had been targeted by Russia in the past. In 2007, 10 days of cyber attacks that were thought to have originated from Russia temporarily brought down Estonia’s financial sector.
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