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Estonia rejects border guard training exercise with Russia

Estonia said it will not participate in a Russia-led international border guard training exercise, with Estonian MEP Urmas Paet saying both Latvia and Lithuania will also not take part.

Martin Luige, a spokesman for the Police and Border Guard Board, said the exercise, named Zapad 2015, was due to be held between March and June. “It is difficult to say what size the training will take, after a number of nations have rejected the chance to take part,” he said.

Minister of Internal Affairs Hanno Pevkur said that organizations directly linked to the kidnapping of Estonian official Eston Kohver are also involved in the exercise, which aims to improve the exchange of information between countries.

Pevkur said Kohver's case is among the many reasons Estonia will not participate. Other reasons include Russia's involvement in Ukraine and Russian military exercises, also named Zapad, which leads to questions over the real aim of the maneuvers, he said.

Paet said he has petitioned relevant EU agencies to stop their participation in the exercise. Paet added that Russia also plans to use military weapons in the training exercise.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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