Once again, NATO is operating dangerous and bold military maneuvers in regions close to the European Russian border. This time, the country hosting the tests is Estonia, a Baltic State that in recent decades has been characterized by a strong pro-Western and anti-Russian stance. The small European country is occupied by a large contingent of American troops and will be in such a situation until at least September 10, when the operations end.
The tests started on September 1 are already causing a small diplomatic crisis between Russia and the United States. The Russian Embassy in Washington commented on the exercises with great antipathy:
“The Russian Federation has repeatedly offered to the United States and its allies to limit training activities and to divert exercise areas from the line of contact between Russia and NATO. We consider the actions of the US Armed Forces in Estonia provocative and extremely dangerous for regional stability (…) What signal from NATO members want to send us? Who is actually fueling tensions in Europe? And all this is taking place in the context of an aggravated political situation in that region of the European continent. Rhetorical question: how would the Americans react if such shooting were carried out by our military near the US borders?”.
In addition to the diplomatic crisis, military tension broke out in the region last Tuesday. NATO planes that would be used in the exercises were intercepted unexpectedly by Russian fighters while flying over the border area. In addition, Aleksandr Lukashenko, president of Belarus, put his troops on high alert and started his own military exercises, understanding NATO’s maneuvers as a provocative and threatening measure, not only against Russia, but also Belarus.
The exercises also begin during a series of events that have raised tensions in the region. On Friday, an American B-52 bomber and a Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted dangerous maneuvers in European airspace, chasing each other. On the same day, similar tensions were reported in the Ukrainian Black Sea. Countries with less military potential are becoming concerned and feel threatened by hostilities, such as Sweden, which has issued a danger warning to its troops.
This is not the first time that the Baltic countries have become the scene of NATO military actions especially aimed at provoking Russia.