21 September 2017, Thursday, 4:23

Estonia Prepares For Provocations In Course Of West-2017 Maneuvres

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Estonia’s Ministry of Defense will closely monitor the maneuvers.

Estonian Defense Minister Jüri Luik does not exclude possible provocations during the Russian-Belarusian exercises West 2017, scheduled for September. He believes that Estonia is ready for them.

"We cannot exclude incidents in the air and at sea, the provocative behavior of Russian aircraft and ships against NATO. (...) Estonia is ready for possible incidents, " - Jüri Luik said on Thursday in an interview with the broadcasting portal ERR, interfax.by reports.

At the same time, according to him, "Estonia's attitude to the exercises is calm and confident, there are no special grounds for concern."

"We and the NATO allies are closely following the exercises. They do not significantly increase the level of threat in our region, " - the Estonian Minister said.

Speaking about the readiness for possible incidents, he recalled that "in addition to the British battalion as part of the combat group and the company of France that is part of it, Estonia will have companies from Estonia and Hungary at that time, NATO's presence in other Baltic States and in Poland".

The Minister believes that, given the experience and scope of previous exercises, the current maneuvers West-2017 are also aimed at developing scenarios for the attack on NATO. "

He estimates that these will be large-scale exercises, in which about 100,000 Russian soldiers and officers will be involved.

Jüri Luik complained about the lack of transparency during the exercises: "Belarus promised to invite us, but Russia didn’t. We expect much more transparency from Russia."

The head of the military department believes that the increased presence of NATO troops in the region "is extremely moderate compared to Russian troops on the other side of the border, it has a positive impact, as it is the best guarantee of peace."