Nato’s Baltic Military Exercises Rouse Suspicion

Nato war planes have participated in exercises over the former Soviet Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The one-day mission involved French and Polish fighter planes and was the fifth major Nato air maneouvre in Baltic airspace since the three states joined the Western military alliance in 2004.

Nato officials said that the exercise was meant to boost the skills of its multinational crews that patrol Baltic air space.

Russia has expressed irritation over the wargames near its borders.

Earlier this month, Russian envoy to Nato Dmitry Rogozin said that Moscow would demand a report on the exercises, including “who will be declared the enemy.”

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Dillschneider, a spokesman for Nato Air Headquarters in Ramstein, Germany, claimed that the exercise was not directed against anyone.

Speaking in Tallin, Lt Dillschneider said: “Air policing is a defensive act – it’s the sovereign right of every state to take care and ensure that their air space is safe and secured.”

Nato war planes patrol over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on a four-month rotational basis.

Yesterday’s exercise involved two French Mirage 2000 jets, two Polish F-16 fighters, two Lithuanian training planes and transport aircraft.

Nato has pledged to continue its air mission at least until 2014 but the Baltic countries are lobbying to extend that until 2018.

It remains unclear how Baltic air space will be monitored after 2018.

Estonia military chief Ants Laaneots said that the three countries may lease planes or form a joint air unit.

Mr Laaneots said it would be “way too expensive” for each country to buy new jets.

Articles by: Global Research

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Centre of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post Global Research articles on community internet sites as long the source and copyright are acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original Global Research article. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: [email protected] contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: [email protected]