Defense minister: Russia's Zapad 2021 exercise a provocation against West

Kalle Laanet.
Kalle Laanet. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Russia's Zapad 2021 large-scale military exercise is a provocation against the West, Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet said on Monday.

Speaking after a joint meeting with the defense and foreign ministers of the Baltic states and Poland in Riga, Laanet (Reform) said that the countries can best ensure their security in close cooperation with their immediate neighbors and allies.

"The pressurizing and non-transparent actions of the Russian Federation and Belarus in the planning of the large-scale exercise Zapad 2021 and the induction of a hybrid crisis on the Latvian and Lithuanian borders are a deliberate attempt to destabilize the security of the Baltic Sea region and to cause a split in allied relations within NATO and the European Union. Our cooperation with our Baltic neighbors and Poland is based on unity and solidarity, not fear and manipulation," Laanet said.

"We ensure the security of the region by sharing information and acting together," he added.

The ministers participated in a discussion titled "A hot-cold summer of the Baltic Sea region," organized by the Latvian NATO Association. The main theme of which was the hybrid attack by Belarus and the Zapad 2021 exercise of the Russian Federation. 

They agreed the actions of the Russian and Belarusian regimes threaten the security of the region and confirmed that cooperation relations based on common values between the three Baltic states and Poland have only been strengthened due to this.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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