Russian Embassy to former Estonian defense chief: Get out of the tank ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

MP Ants Laaneots (Reform).
MP Ants Laaneots (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Russian Embassy in Estonia has denied that any preparations underway for Russian aggression against the Baltic states, as claimed by Estonian MP Ants Laaneots (Reform), former commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), and urged the latter to be more active as a member of the Riigikogu's Estonia-Russia parliamentary group.

 In a recent interview with a Latvian television station, Laaneots said that Russia was in the early stages of a rearming process which, "obviously, evidenced preparations for aggression."

"The aforementioned MP has spoken again about some kind of 'aggression being prepared by Russia,'" the embassy said in a statement posted on Facebook, adding that this seems to be a habit developed over his years of service in the Soviet Army, as he continues to see the world in the crosshairs of a tank.

"Once again, we suggest that Ants Laaneots 'get out of the tank' and resume the fulfillment of his parliamentary duties, including those of a member of the parliamentary group for relations with the Russian State Duma, which I presume he was not forced to join," the embassy continued. "This absolutely peaceful field provides a vast opportunity for manifesting oneself in a way that is much more beneficial to our countries."

In an appearance on Latvian TV channel LTV7 last week, Laaneots said that the Latvian Army would be unable to counter its eastern neighbor. He also said that Latvia's professional armed forces are incapable of defending Latvia's territory and are a weak link in Baltic defense.

Laaneots served as commander of the EDF from December 2006 through December 2011. Rising to the rank of colonel in the Soviet Army after service centered largely around tanks, he defected in August 1991, and became one of the founding officers of the Estonian Army after Estonia regained its independence.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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