By Ott Ummelas & Aaron Eglitis, Bloomberg, Sept. 20, 2013
Baltic officials said regional security had been weakened as Russia led military exercises on their doorstep involving almost 12,000 troops.
A week of land and sea maneuvers dubbed “Zapad 2013,” or “West 2013,” began today as part of biennial exercises with Belarus, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on its website. Troops in both nations tested coordination in destroying “illegal armed formations,” it said.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which regained independence in 1991 after half a century of Soviet rule, joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004 amid Russian opposition. NATO has held exercises in the Baltic region since 2010, while Russia has opened new military bases and deployed more troops on its western border in recent years, according to the defense ministers of Estonia and Latvia… (more)
- Russian war games with 12,000 troops trigger Baltic concern (stripes.com)
- Commanders Discuss NATO-Russian Observations of Military Exercises (news.err.ee)
- Russian Military Exercise Focuses on Western Nations, Says Reinsalu (news.err.ee)
- Defense Forces Express Surprise at Scale of ‘Zapad’ (news.err.ee)
- Russian paratroopers arrive in Belarus for Zapad-2013 military exercises (indrus.in)
- HS: Large-scale Russian military exercises begin close to Finland (rusfinrelations.wordpress.com)
- Verkkouutiset.fi: Russia simulates occupation of Baltic countries (rusfinrelations.wordpress.com)
- [Photo] Eight Russian combat planes skirted Estonian airspace on their way to huge Zapad 2013 exercise (theaviationist.com)
- “Immense” Russian – Belarusian military exercise (possibly focused on neutralizing an ethnic unrest) taking place in eastern Europe (theaviationist.com)