The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the plans to expand Ämari air base in north-eastern Estonia, which hosts NATO's Baltic air policing mission, “a provocation”.
"In the light of constant speculation about the need for the military alliance (NATO) and in particular the United States to deploy extra military forces on its 'eastern flank' we view these preparations as an openly provocative step aimed at destabilising the situation," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also commented on the “ease with which Estonian authorities sacrifice civilian objects to NATO's attempt to militarize the Baltics.”
Last week, Commander of the Estonian Air Force Colonel Jaak Tarien told local media that the defense ministry and the Ministry of Economics and Communication have searched in vain for an investor to develop civil aviation projects in Ämari. Hence, the military air base might be extended into areas formerly reserved for civil aviation.
Following Russia's declaration, Tarien used his personal Facebook account to draw attention to the fact that Russia has called Estonian Air Force's development plans “provocation” on several occasions before, including the decision to renovate Ämari air base in 2006. He also called Russia's “recognition” a compliment to his hard-working team and likened Russia's behavior to that of a school yard bully.
Editor: M. Oll