The ceremony with the banner parade officially launched the activities of the battle group NATO in Latvia. This is not a drill. This is a real operation. Each of the three Baltic States and Poland got their set defense — a total of more than 4 thousand well-trained and equipped soldiers.
Battalion of NATO in Latvia was the last missing link in the defense of the Baltic States, the Canadians had to overcome a long journey — 7 thousand kilometers. But now they are here and took over the leadership of the battle group in Latvia. For the first time since the cold war, canadian soldiers in such large numbers arrive in Europe. 450 Canadians at us, in Latvia, plus the continuation of the program for training military in Ukraine.
In the battle group, NATO in Latvia include more soldiers from five States — Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain. On Monday at the ceremony you could see how different military traditions of different countries — a form of step bearing. Also different mentality, and soldiers will have to adapt to each other, especially because based in Adazi is now a bit crowded. But the parade as a whole looked good. It was attended by not only senior officials of the defense Ministry of Latvia and President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis and Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg. Their message remains the same: the threat of one country-member of NATO — a threat to everyone. This is a strong confirmation of solidarity. The parade was accompanied by the orchestra, and from the air he was greeted by three huge helicopter.
How long the allied soldiers will stay in Latvia and in the Baltic States — will depend on need, while no specific dates are planned. Theoretically, the NATO summits at which it takes this kind of decisions, are held every two years, and another after each election of the President of the United States. The next NATO summit will take place in 2018. Terms are defined solely for rotation. It is common practice, when after six months of service, the foreign soldiers go home. Some leave, others arrive. At a press conference Jens Stoltenberg said that to increase the numerical composition of the combat group is not provided, but if necessary — if you start some kind of trouble — it can very quickly expand.
At the moment no country in NATO is a danger, however, certain concerns are associated with planned for the fall of the Russian exercises “West-2017”. Perhaps in this regard will be organized the meeting of NATO and Russia. “We want Russia told about the teachings of the “West” and presented the documents,” — said Stoltenberg.
In parallel with the activities of the battle group in Riga will host a variety of military exercises, and along with this the total number of allied soldiers in our region will be more. Autumn will arrive 600 Americans, but in comparison with the concentration of the Russian army in the border areas is still low power. Is the President emphasized Raimonds vējonis. Battle group NATO numerically small, they are defensive in nature, and therefore are in no way a threat to Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken on this subject: NATO exercises do not pose threats of a military nature, but certainly can harm inter-state relations. About it reports associated with the Kremlin propaganda resource Sputnik. In turn, the Minister of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu in NATO action even sees “a clearly anti-Russian orientation”.
Meanwhile, according to the interpretation of the allies, the goal of NATO’s actions is the suspension of Russia’s aggression. Proof that it is characteristic of Russia, and the invasion of Georgia and annexation of Crimea.
Battle group NATO in Latvia
Canada — 450 soldiers from the mechanized infantry battalion, a reconnaissance platoon, armored vehicles;
Albania — 18 military engineers (sappers);
Italy — 160 soldiers. Mechanized company of infantry with armored vehicles;
Poland — tank company of 160 soldiers;
Slovenia — 50 experts on protection against weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, radioactive);
Spain — 300 soldiers from the mechanized company of infantry, armored vehicles, military engineers.