RIGA, Sept 14 (LETA) – No provocations or activity posing direct military threat in relation to joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad 2017 have been reported in Latvia today.
“It’s quiet at the moment, and there have been no reports of any extraordinary situations. Naturally, the State Border Guard and security agencies continue their work in alert mode,” said Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis (Unity) told LETA.
Latvian border guards are working on the eastern border more busily than usual, with the frequency of patrols increased due to be maneuvers in the neighbor countries. “Border guards are working extra hours, but the Security Police are also analyzing the media environment and processing information,” the interior minister said.
Kozlovskis said that the joint military exercise of Russia and Belarus was not unexpected and that Latvian security services had been preparing for it. They will continue to work with increased intensity until Zapad 2017 is over.
Kaspars Galkins, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, also told LETA that no activities have been detected near Latvian borders that would pose direct military threats. The Latvian National Armed Forces are functioning as scheduled, he said.
As reported, Russia On Thursday began major joint military exercises with Belarus along the European Union’s eastern flank – Zapad 2017 – the active phase of which is scheduled to end on September 20.
Named Zapad-2017 (West-2017), the maneuvers, scheduled to last until September 20, are taking place on the territory of Moscow’s closest ally Belarus, in Russia’s European exclave of Kaliningrad and in its frontier Pskov and Leningrad regions.
Moscow says the drills will involve 12,700 troops, 70 aircraft, 250 tanks and 10 battleships testing their firepower against an imaginary foe close to borders with Poland and the Baltic States.