NATO opened the Baltic Region Training Event – a first in a series of large scale military maneuvers to be held in the Baltic States in 2010. The main goal of the drills is to have Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania integrated into the air policing system of the alliance. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, France and the United States take part in the event. Poland’s F16, France’s Mirage 2000 and USA’s fueling aircraft, Lithuania’s L39 Albatros will perform joint flights.
The drills are supervised from NATO’s Air Force Headquarters in Rammstein, Germany. An official statement from the headquarters said that the air drills in the Baltic region was a demonstration of NATO’s unity.
NATO started holding drills in the Baltic region in 2008. This year, NATO will organize several drills in the region to train the delivery and deployment of NATO troops.
The maneuvers of 2010 will be the largest since the time when the three Baltic States joined NATO.
Who needs military activities near Russia’s borders? NATO officials claim that the alliance does not threaten Russia, but it seems that Brussels sticks to the same doctrines, for which the military bloc was created.
Some experts believe that NATO organized the drills in response to Russia’s demonstration of force in the war with Georgia. Russia has also conducted joint drills with Belarus, which could also make NATO remind Russia of its presence in the region.
It is obvious, though, that NATO holds the event in the region to strengthen the sanitary cordon with Russia and show Russia who is the master in the Baltic States.
The current and future maneuvers held near the borders of Russia and Belarus can be explained with the development of a certain defense plan for the Baltic States, which is something that the countries wanted to obtain from the alliance. An official spokesman for Estonia’s defense ministry said that the ministry was working on such a plan.
It goes without saying that defense is extremely important. However, it is important only if there is danger of military threat. Russia does not post any threat to the Baltic States, although the leaders of these countries refer to the Georgian experience. Such a reference is politically incorrect and cynical. Georgia was internationally recognized as the aggressor in the war of 2008.