A picture from Exercise Spring Storm 2017.
An Estonian official has spoken out about Russian threats close to the border between the two countries, saying there will be “no confrontation” with Russia.
Currently, more than 9,000 NATO allies and partners, including around 1,000 British troops, are flexing their military muscle on Exercise Spring Storm, which is taking place just 30 kilometres from the Russian border.
But as long as NATO continues to stay “credible and visible” there should be no need for confrontation, the spokesperson says, going on to note:
“We don’t think it’s probable for a confrontation with Russia.”
However, the official is warning NATO has to remain politically strong as well as militarily, adding:
“If things look messy in Brussels… we have a massive problem.”
Despite this, he continued, “Russia has been behaving over the past five years… certainly since the war in Georgia”.
Russia formed seven new manoeuvre regiments, including four tank regiments along its western border last year. All were based 50 kilometres from the border between Russia and Estonia.
“It is a clear indication of long term plans”, the Estonian official commented.
“Russia looks to be getting ready for a large scale war”, he added, indicating that it could be targeted at NATO.
“I’m not saying Russia is seeking a war with NATO - nor is it foreseeing one.
“But this is what we see in terms of their developments of their military assets.”
Russian research vessels are also being closely monitored, as well as civilian boats - after some were found to be watching ship traffic movements.
Others tried to enter naval training areas of other countries without permission. It is believed they were monitoring strategic movements as well as military technological advancements under the water.