Washington Post: Fearing Russian expansion, Baltic nations step up military exercises

TAPA, Estonia — A year ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula because he said he feared NATO’s expansion. This week, U.S. tanks were cutting up the Estonian countryside just 65 miles from the Russian border in response to local fears about Russia’s expansionism.

From destroyers in the Baltic Sea to paratroopers over Georgia’s skies to camouflaged reservists in Estonia’s birch forests, drills across the former Eastern Bloc this past week were a stark new sign of worries about Kremlin aggression. Estonia in recent days held its biggest military exercises since the end of the Cold War, and other nations adjoining Russia have taken forceful steps to avoid Ukraine’s fate.

Training efforts have swept the region, and in the past week alone separate exercises took place in Poland, Lithuania, Georgia, Estonia and the Baltic Sea. Military planners said they were a practical attempt to drill new lessons about how Russia wages war. But they were also intended as a warning that unlike in Crimea, where Ukrainian forces surrendered without firing a shot, the Kremlin would face stiff resistance if it tried its tactics anywhere in NATO territory. U.S. military trainers are also in Ukraine trying to strengthen that nation’s fighting forces even as a war burns in the eastern part of the country.

More News On The Growing Military Presence In The Baltic States

Russian aggression prompts Baltic nations to seek NATO force -- Washington Times
Baltics To Ask NATO For Thousands Of Troops -- AFP
3 Baltic Nations Request Permanent NATO Troop Presence -- AP
Baltic countries to ask NATO for thousands of permanent troops -- Deutsche Welle
NATO to consider permanent brigade in Baltics -- Stars and Stripes
Baltic States Boost Intelligence Cooperation Over 'Submarine Threat' -- Sputnik
Russian Spy Plane Intercepted By British Jets Over Baltic — Moscow Vs. NATO Tensions Ratchet Up -- Inquisitr
Russia decries Baltic states’ plea for Nato brigade -- Irish Times

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