Russia conducting military drills near Estonian border (5)
2,000 Russian special troops and 500 armored units are taking part of the military drills in Pskov region, near Estonia-Russia border.
According to Russian Defense Ministry, the exercises are part of Russian Airborne Forces tactical drill. More than 1,500 servicemen will be airdropped during the training which is expected to last until February 27.
Martin Hurt, an Estonian defense expert at the International Centre for Defense and Security, said to Newsweek magazine that the increasingly frequent snap military drills being carried out by Russia near its neighbours could be part of a strategy that will open the door for a Russian offensive on the Baltic states.
“My take would be that the Russian authorities want to raise the readiness of their forces and also make European nations more relaxed to a new norm where the Russian Armed Force often conduct snap exercises,” Hurt said.
“A realistic scenario against the Baltics would be a 'normal' Russian snap exercise that without notice turns into a quick assault on one or several of the Baltic states’ capitals. Such an attack would have greater probability of success than the hybrid scenario we saw in Crimea. A decisive move by Putin assuming that the weak leaders of Europe will not react quickly and 'avoid escalation' is a possible scenario,” Hurt added.