US-Led Saber Strike Military Drills to Kick Off in Baltics, Poland

Soldiers from the US Pennsylvania National Guard take part in a field training exercise during the first phase Saber Strike 2014, at the Rukla military base, Lithuania, on June 14, 2014

Joint tactical maneuvers will also take place in Estonia and Latvia; Poland will join the annual event for the first time.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Large-scale US-led military exercises, codenamed Saber Strike 2015, will start in three Baltic states and Poland on Monday.

The drills, running through June 19, are hosted by Lithuania this year. Joint tactical maneuvers will also take place in Estonia and Latvia. Poland will join the annual event for the first time.

Some 6,000 personnel from 13 NATO member states and partner nations are scheduled to take part in the exercises that include ground troops, tanks, and various aviation, according to US Army Europe’s official website.

Last week, three US B-52 strategic bombers were deployed to Europe to take part in Saber Strike, and in concurrent US-led exercises underway in the Baltic Sea.

Servicemen from Canada, Finland, Germany and the United Kingdom are also included in the Saber Strike 2015 drills.

Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Slovenia have also sent troops to the event for training.

The Saber Strike drills have been held annually in the Baltic states since 2010 with a stated aim of improving cooperation and capabilities of participating nations.


Russian, Belarusian Experts to Check Military Activity in Estonia

Estonian soldiers take part in an annual military exercise together with several units from other NATO member states

The military expert groups from Russia and Belarus will inspect military activity in Estonia.

  The military expert groups from Russia and Belarus will carry out a check of military activity in Estonia between May 12 and 15, where NATO is currently holding military exercises, head of the Russian National Center for Reducing Nuclear Threat said Monday.

“Inspection is carried out in order to determine the extent of military activity implemented there [in Estonia] or to confirm the absence of military activity subject to prior notification within a specified area,” Sergei Ryzhkov said in a statement.

The expert groups will cover up to 16,000 square kilometers (10 square miles), according to Ryzhkov.


NATO ‘Tornado’ Military Drills to Start in Estonia in May


Military exercises codenamed Tornado, with participation of the US Army paratroopers kick off in Estonia Monday, the General Staff of the country’s Defense Forces said in a statement.

TALLINN (Sputnik) — Tornado will be the last drills before the major Siil 2015 war games, the largest military exercises in country’s history, due to be held in Estonia on May 4-15 with participation of nearly 13,000 US and Estonian soldiers.

“On Monday, nearly 2,000 soldiers of the First Infantry Brigade of Estonian Defense Forces, as well as divisions of US paratroopers, will begin five-day Tornado drills, which will demonstrate the level of their readiness to participate in larger Siil (Hedgehog) military exercises,” the statement read.
The presence of US soldiers in the Baltic region is a part of the military operation Atlantic Resolve, a demonstration of US commitment to NATO members across Eastern Europe through international training and security cooperation.
NATO has been strengthening its military presence along Russia’s western border amid the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, claiming Moscow’s involvement.

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that NATO expansion toward Russian borders could further aggravate existing tensions and undermine regional security.

Spanish Fighter Jets to Fly Training Mission Over Estonia

Eurofighter Typhoon

Four Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets will fly a training sortie over Estonia Sunday as part of the so-called Baltic Air Police mission.


On January 2 the German Luftwaffe, which had provided a contingent of four Eurofighters on base for NATO Baltic Policing patrols since September, handed over to a Spanish air force detachment of the same aircraft type, which took over patrolling duties at Estonia’s Amari Air Base near Tallinn.The Spanish war jets will fly a training mission over Estonian territory on Sunday, the country’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The quartet of Spanish Eurofighters from the 11th Air Wing of the Spanish Air Force based in Andalucía will fly patrol missions in the Baltic skies until the end of next month.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the most advanced new generation multirole combat aircraft currently available on the world market. Seven nations (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have already ordered the aircraft, which can be used as a strike plane, a fighter and can fly reconnaissance missions.

NATO allies have been guarding Baltic airspace on a rotation basis since the three states joined the military alliance in 2004.

The NATO war jets have been patrolling from the Lithuanian Air Force base in Siauliai.


Russian Defense Ministry says no Russian warplane violated Estonia’s airspace


December 29, 21:49 UTC+3
A Russian An-72 transport plane was conducting a preplanned mission in the area but didn’t violate other countries’ airspace

An-72 (archive)

An-72 (archive)

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has refuted allegations of a Russian Air Force plane violating Estonia’s airspce, the press service of the ministry said Monday.

The press service said a Russian An-72 transport plane was conducting a preplanned mission from Saint Petersburg to Russi’a westermost Kaliningrad Region. The plane flew over neutral waters of the Baltic sea in strict compliance with the international rules and with no violation of air space of Estonia or any other state, the press service said.

NATO raises number of warplanes in Eastern Europe

Chief Commander of Russia’s Air Force Colonel General Viktor Bondarev earlier said that NATO has raised the number of its aircraft at airfields in NATO states in Eastern Europe using the current crisis in Ukraine as a pretext. The number of tactical fighter jets patrolling the air space in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia with deployment at airbases Zokniai in Lithuania and Amari in Estonia has been increased 3.5 times, he said. Meanwhile, US and NATO air squadrons of up to 12 tactical fighter jets have been deployed additionally at Polish airbases in Malbork and Minsk Mazowiecki and Campia Turzii in Romania on a rotation basis since the start of this year.

Undercover Agent Helped Reduce Estonian Anti-Russia Activity by 80 Percent

Federal Security Service building in Moscow

Undercover Russian security agent Uno Puusepp helped to locate many Estonian spies in Russia, as well as prevent the Russian embassy in the Estonian capital of Tallinn from being bugged.


MOSCOW, December 14 (Sputnik) — Thanks to undercover Russian security agent Uno Puusepp, the activity of the Estonian Internal Security Service against Russia has been decreased by 80 percent, Puusepp’s liaison has told Russia’s NTV channel.”In all the time that Uno worked, I think that the Estonian Internal Security Service’s activity against Russia has been decreased by 80 percent,” Nikolai Ermakov was quoted as saying by the TV channel Sunday.

Ermakov said that, thanks to Puusepp, the Russian side knew about many operations that were being prepared against Moscow by Estonian intelligence services and the CIA, allowing for appropriate measures to be taken.


Uno Puusepp is a Russian Federal Security Service agent that worked at the Estonian security service for some 20 years and whose identity has only been recently revealed.According to the TV channel, over the years Puusepp helped find many Estonian spies in Russia, as well as prevent the Russian embassy in the Estonian capital of Tallinn from being bugged.

Puusepp is said to have contributed to providing extensive information concerning the Estonian security service’s covert operations. He resigned from the Estonian security service three years ago.

NATO Justifies Military Buildup Near Russia by ‘Fairy Tales’


The chief of the Russian General Staff said on Wednesday that NATO has been using “fairy tales” to justify its military activities near Russian border.


MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik) – NATO has been using “fairy tales” to justify its intensified military activities near Russian borders, the chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, said Wednesday.“Ground-, sea-based and air forces of the alliance have stepped up their activities in Poland, the Baltic region and in the Black and Baltic seas,” he said. “Military exercises and drills explained by contrived fairy tales of ‘threat from the east’ have also intensified.”

“Military exercises and drills explained by contrived fairy tales of ‘threat from the east’ have also intensified,” he added.

Relations between Russia and NATO have deteriorated in the light of the Ukrainian crisis, as the alliance has accused Moscow of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, a claim Russia has repeatedly denied.

Following Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March, NATO boosted its military presence in Poland and in the former Soviet Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In April, the alliance ceased all practical cooperation with Russia, limiting contact to ambassadorial and higher levels.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern over the bloc’s expansion in Eastern Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has on several occasions described NATO expansion as a mistake that undermines European stability.

West Directly Involved in Overthrowing Legitimate Governments

The leadership of western countries are directly involved in overthrowing legitimate governments in a number of countries and calls for concern, Russian General Staff head Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov said Wednesday.

“Throughout the year there were continued attempts of interference in the domestic affairs of a number of sovereign states using the so-called color revolution format,” Gerasimov said during a meeting with military attaches from several countries.

According to the Russian Army general’s assessment, “public interest and direct involvement of the political leadership of leading western countries in overthrowing the legitimate state power by using any method cannot but call for our serious concern.”

Earlier in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly that the United States always “directly or from behind the scenes” affects Russia’s relations with neighbors, adding that “sometimes it is unclear who to talk to: to the authorities of the country or directly to their US patrons.”

On February 22, there was a change of government in Ukraine, the legitimacy of which residents of the southeastern regions of Ukraine refused to recognize. The situation in Ukraine escalated when Kiev launched a military operation in the southeast of the country.

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, the United States has shown support to the new government in Kiev. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeatedly stated that the US authorities are not helping to resolve the Ukrainian crisis but only fuel it by pushing Kiev toward further confrontation with southeastern regions.