A large scale military exercise is scheduled for summer 2010 in Latvia.
This will be a response to the Russian–Belarusian joint military drills held a month ago, Delfi.lv reports referring to Neka Personiga.
The largest in last 30 years military manoeuvres were carried out in Belarus a month ago. They attracted 6000 Russian soldiers, 200 tanks, 500 armoured trucks, 230 units of artillery materiel, some hundreds of aircrafts and helicopters. The three-week manoeuvres caused anxiety of political leadership of the Baltic states. As Baltic sources and independent observers think, Russian and Belarusian troops trained the defeating an attack on the Kaliningrad region.
According to Neka Personiga, a Latvian spy aircraft had crossed the Belarus’s airspace recording disposition of military units ahead of the drills. The Belarusian authorities permit such flight once a year. Information about Ladoga 2009 military exercise held near Latvian and Estonian borders at the same time is unavailable.
“This is a scenario of the drills: the territory of Belarus was divided in two parts, there was a conflict, the troops had to from a corridor between Kaliningrad and Russia on the territory of Latvia. That was the scenario. The Baltic states were used as a lodgement,” Latvian minister of defence Imant Liegis told in the TV programme.
Though the official authorities of Moscow and Minsk hide the details of the scenario, the Latvian armed forces prepare a response to the exercise, Neka Personiga says. Finance to carry out the manoeuvres in summer 2010 is to be allocated. It remains unknown what armed forces and how much personnel will be involved in the drills.
As www.charter97.org at the Riga Conference on October 24, Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet criticized the Russian-Belarusian military drills. “The military exercise close to Baltic states demonstrates Russian still uses significant means to fight against NATO,” the foreign minister said.
“The Russia’s drills near the Baltic borders were the biggest in ten years and had an aim to cut the three Baltic states off NATO,” the head of the Estonian Foreign Ministry thinks.
“The drills demonstrate the way Moscow still thinks,” the Estonian foreign minister concluded.
In response, President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves suggested carrying out NATO military exercise in the Baltic states.