Transitions Online May 23, 2014
Thousands of NATO troops have been conducting war games in the Baltics this week.
Steadfast Javelin 1, a defense against a simulated attack on Estonia, began 16 May with around 6,000 troops from nine countries, Stars and Stripes reports. Units involved include cybersecurity and reconnaissance, infantry, engineers, fighter jets, and anti-aircraft.
In Lithuania, 19 NATO countries have 500 troops testing communications systems in wartime conditions, the Lithuanian Tribune reports.
Although long-planned, the exercises take on added significance as NATO seeks to demonstrate that it will defend its Baltic neighbors against possible Russian aggression.
The governments of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia are particularly nervous since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which Moscow said was in defense of ethnic Russians there. The Baltic countries have sometimes prickly relations with their significant Russian minorities.
NATO has stepped up air patrols in the Baltics and beefed up its presence in Poland since March.
NATO does war games in Lithuania, Estonia