Task and Purpose
Russian And NATO Pilots In Tense Standoffs
Some 25,000 troops from the U.S. and 23 other countries are taking part in the Saber Guardian military exercise in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania this month — the drills are designed as a deterrent and are “larger in both scale and scope” than previous exercises, U.S. European Command said in June. U.S. bombers also traveled to the UK in June in preparation for two separate multilateral exercises in the Baltics and elsewhere in Europe that month.
Those military exercises come ahead of war games planned for September by Russia and Belarus. Those exercises could involve up to 100,000 troops and include nuclear weapons training.
Lithuania- 5,000 Strong Military Drill
Lithuania is kicking off an international military exercise with more than 5,000 troops from nine of its allies across three different parts of the country, Baltic news site Delfi reports.
The land-training drill also will include the 1,200-strong NATO battalion deployment in Lithuania. One of the foreign contributions is a German-led brigade in Rukla, a small town in central Lithuania. British, U.S., Polish and Portuguese troops will also take part.
Canadian troops lead NATO mission on the Latvia-Russian Border
As Canadian soldiers join NATO troops in Latvia as part of Operation Reassurance, the tensions between Russia and its Baltic neighbors are especially felt in Latvian border towns.
Operation Reassurance is a multinational NATO mission aimed at discouraging Russian aggression in central and Eastern Europe. Canada is deploying a total of 450 troops to Latvia to lead a battle group of soldiers from five other NATO countries: Italy, Spain, Poland, Slovenia and Albania.
The battle group is hoping to deter Russian troops from entering Latvian towns like Karsava, which is close to the Russian border and has a large Russian population. Following Russian annexation of Crimea in Ukraine more than three years ago, there are fears that similar scenarios could occur in Latvia.
Latvians and Lithuanians Back EU Military Alliance
A majority of Latvians and Lithuanians are in favor of an EU army amid simmering tensions in the Baltic region with their neighbor Russia, Latvian news agency LETA reports.
More than a half of Latvia’s population (59 percent) and over two thirds of Lithuania’s (71 percent) back the idea of an EU army—a divisive proposal among the bloc’s members, an Euro barometer survey carried out in April shows.
Neighboring Estonia, the northernmost of the Baltics, was just shy of majority support for the idea of an EU army, with 48 percent backing. The highest support for an EU army came from the Netherlands and Belgium (both 74 percent).
Russia sends 2,500 troops to Latvian and Estonian Borders
Russia has called 2,500 troops to an airborne military drill in its Pskov region, bordering NATO allies Latvia and Estonia, state news agency Itar-Tass reported on Wednesday. The drill will involve 40 aircraft, with airborne troops practicing landing in unfamiliar lands. The exercises were described as “counterrorist” drills.
Estonia and EU to assist Ukraine implement Cyber Security
The e-Governance Academy, an independent Estonian mission-based non-profit think tank and consultancy organization, founded in 2002 by the United Nations Development Program, Open Society Institute, and the Government of Estonia for the creation and spread of knowledge and best practice concerning e-governance, e-democracy, cyber security and the development of open information societies, has completed its public procurement as a part of the EGOV4UKRAINE project of the Ukrainian U-LEAD administrative reform support program, which will create an inter-institutional secure data exchange
Cold War Tensions Rise as Canadian Soldiers on Latvian Soil
The Canadians are the first of 450 soldiers that are expected to land in Latvia over the next week to maintain a stronger NATO presence near the capitol in a tactical position called the “enhanced forward presence” in military parlance.
They will lead a battle group composed of a multinational force of troops and heavy equipment from several European countries including Italy, Spain, Poland, Slovenia and Albania. The mission is expected to cost $348.5 million over the next three years.
Maj. John Hagemeyer, a company commander, jumped off the plane carrying his kit bag and exclaimed to CBC, “It’s good to finally be here. We want to be here. Latvia wants us here.”