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Russia Launches Missile Tests, Triggers The Partial Closure Of The Baltic Sea
Russia began testing missiles with vital nutrition in the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, alarming Latvia, a member of the NATO, which says the drills have to force it partly to shut down Baltic commercial airspace.
The Russian defense ministry says on Monday that its Baltic Fleet, is in its European exclave of the Kaliningrad, was preparing for routine training in the Baltic Sea, including the live fire drills to practice hitting air and sea targets.
“It is a demonstration of the force,” Latvia’s Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis tell Reuters. “It is hard to comprehending that it can happen so close to our country,” he says.
The tests are carried out in Latvia’s exclusive economic zone, officials say, an area of the sea just beyond Latvia’s territorial waters where Latvia has exclusive economic rights, as well as further west in the Baltic Sea.
Riga has closed some of its airspaces for the three days of the tests, and Sweden was also issuing a warning to the civilian sea traffic and says there can delays and disruption to the civilian air traffic.
The missile tests and a military drills following Russia’s massive war games in September, which stretches from the Baltics to the Black Sea. The exercises unnerving the West because of their scale, scope and what NATO says was a lack of transparency.
At a time of high East-West tensions, the NATO officials worry that any accident involving military weapons and a civilian ship or plane can spark a broader conflict.
In Ottawa, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance will follow the tests closely while noting that every nation has the right to carry out military exercises.
“We are staying vigilant, and we are also increasing the readiness of our forces, especially in the Baltic region,” he tells the reporters after meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Moscow was accusing NATO of stirring up the anti-Russian propaganda.
“The Provocative Action”
Latvia says Russian drills have never taken place so near its territory. Kucinskis are noting that the decision to test so close to the Latvian waters coming after the West’s expulsion of Russian diplomats in the last month, the largest since the Cold War.
The diplomats are expelling after a nerve agent which is the attack on March 4th against a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the Salisbury, England.
Latvian officials say Russia is not breaking any international rules and has the right to exercise. But the Latvian defense ministry summoned Russia’s military attaches to express its concern.
Russia says it is testing its forces after the winter.
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