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The Baltic countries are reacting cautiously to a reported Russian proposal to revise the maritime border

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Leaders around the Baltic Sea reacted cautiously Wednesday to reports that Russia could revise the boundaries of its territorial waters in the region, with Lithuania’s foreign minister calling it a “clear escalation” that should be addressed responded with an “appropriately firm response.”

In a draft proposal reported by some Russian media, the Russian Ministry of Defense proposes to update the coordinates used to measure the strip of territorial waters off the coast of the mainland and that of the islands in the Baltic Sea. The existing coordinates were approved in 1985, the ministry says; adding that they were “based on small-scale nautical navigation charts” and do not reflect the “modern geographical situation.”

It was not immediately clear from the draft whether the proposed changes would shift the boundary or merely clarify it.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Russia has signed a United Nations treaty governing how such changes should be implemented. “Both we and Finland assume that Russia – which is a party to that treaty – will live up to that responsibility,” he said, according to the Swedish news agency TT.

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If the Russians were to dispute the borders, “Russia is violating a UN treaty, Russia has the whole world against it,” Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.

However, she said it was likely a routine act by Russia and not a provocation.

Finnish President Alexander Stubb wrote on X that Russia has had no contact with Finland about this. “Finland is acting as always: calmly and based on facts,” he wrote.

Also on There is great concern in Lithuania over the latest victories of Russian forces in northeastern Ukraine.

The Baltic News Service said Lithuania had summoned the Russian representative for a detailed explanation.

However, Russia’s Interfax news agency later on Wednesday quoted an unnamed military diplomatic source as saying Moscow has no plans to review the border or the width of its territorial waters.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there was “nothing political” in the Defense Ministry proposal.

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“You see how tensions and the level of confrontation are escalating, especially in the Baltic region. This requires appropriate steps from our relevant authorities to ensure our safety,” Peskov said.

Since the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Finland and Sweden have become members of NATO. The Baltic Sea – Russia’s maritime access point to the city of St Petersburg and the Kaliningrad enclave – is now almost surrounded by members of the military alliance.

Kaliningrad is sandwiched between Lithuania in the north and east and Poland in the south. It is home to the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet.

___ Dasha Litvinova in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed to this report.

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