Latvia began previously unannounced military exercises in the southeastern European country on the border with Belarus over the weekend. Yesterday, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said on Latvian television that about 3,000 soldiers of the regular armed forces and volunteer army from the Baltic states are expected to participate in the European Union and NATO.
According to a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense in Riga, the exercise, which will last until December 12, is aimed at training broad-based cooperation between various military units and command structures as well as logistics and transportation. And member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – including Russia and Belarus – have reported the exercise, she told Leta.
The situation at the EU’s eastern external borders has deteriorated significantly since last week. Moreover, thousands of migrants are waiting on the Belarusian side at the border with Poland in makeshift camps in the forest at temperatures approaching the freezing point. In the past few days, groups have repeatedly attempted to breach the barrier and cross the border illegally.
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