ISSN 2330-717X

Risky Traveling Through Baltic States Because Of Military Exercises – OpEd

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Latvian mass media informed that Summer Shield military exercises would be organized in Latvia from May 13 to 25. Participating in these tactical operations exercises will be Latvian and U.S. troops, as well soldiers from the Canadian led NATO battalion (http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_news/?doc=20276). So it seems we can get into trouble if we are not sure whom to trust.

It should be noted that every country has a right to train its military and the obligation to inform the neighbouring countries. This is usual proceeding. For example, neighbouring Latvia and Lithuania countries – Russia and Belarus also join their capabilities and train together.

Belarus official news agency BelTA informed last month, that Russia and Belarus had conducted a joint staff exercise of the joint command of the Belarusian-Russian regional force grouping on 18-22 March. The training was the initial stage of the preparation to the joint operative drills of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia “Shield of Union 2019”. The drills will take place in September in the territory of Russia. (https://eng.belta.by/society/view/belarusian-russian-military-in-joint-staff-exercise-119508-2019/). The national ministry of defence, in its turn, informed about this event either (https://www.mil.by/ru/news/85214/). It is interesting that the dates of the training published by mass media and by the ministry of defence coincide.

So, well done, people are informed.

As far as Latvia is concerned, it is strange and even dangerous when NATO schedule does not coincide with that of the national authorities.

Such incoordination can seriously hurt the Alliance’ and the Baltic authorities’ image. Taking into account that the scale and scope of military exercises conducted in the Baltic States have been substantially increased over the past five years, Latvians try to come to terms with the inconvenience of the military exercises: noise, pollution, large budget spending. But people want to be informed and respected by national and NATO authorities about their plans in advance.

It is really disturbing when you cannot be sure of your safety because of increasing military activity and fake information about it. Who is to blame for the spoiled trip: NATO, national authorities or mass media?

Viktors Domburs

Viktors Domburs

Viktors Domburs is an engineer, born in Latvia, and now lives in the United Kingdom.

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