Russia is simulating missile attacks against Estonia as part of military exercises in the lead-up to the NATO summit next week, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Analysts say this is normal behavior for Russia.
The Ministry of Defense told the website "that provocative behavior has intensified on Estonia's border with Russia ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's summit scheduled for next week in Madrid".
It did not tell Bloomberg how it knew about the simulations. But this is not the first time Russia has simulated attacks on NATO countries.
Speaking about the threat level, Ministry of Defense Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm told foreign media on Tuesday: "It has never been as serious as it is now."
NATO's Madrid summit will be held next week on June 28 and the Baltic states are requesting additional reinforcements and permanent division command centers from the alliance to counter Russia's threats.
Researcher: We can not expect anything else from Russia
Kalev Stoicescu, a researcher at the International Center for Defense Studies (ICDS) think tank in Tallinn, told newspaper Postimees the fact NATO and the West know about the simulations means Russia leaked the information. Therefore, it can be considered a "provocation" and Russia is trying to show that the Baltic states are a weak link within NATO in the run-up to the summit.
"When it reaches NATO and the Western public, then there is obviously a political goal behind it. But we have no reason to doubt that Russia is constantly conducting such exercises, where they practice firing missiles at NATO."
"So, on the one hand, it's a normal activity, we can not expect anything else from Russia, but as this information was conveyed in such a particularly tense situation, it's more of a political signal that we shouldn't push them too far or else ... It's a game of escalation!"
He said, despite Russia's actions in Ukraine, there is no reason to panic.
"To attack NATO in such a situation would be suicidal for the Putin regime. At the end of the day, everything cannot be completely ruled out, because it is Russia, but we can say that the probability is definitely very small at the moment. "
Editor: Helen Wright