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Friday 22.09.2017 | Name days: Maigurs, Mārica, Māris
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NAF Commander: provocations against NATO troops in Latvia are possible

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWith the new NATO battalion now stationed in Latvia there are concerns about possible provocations, said Latvian National Armed Forces Commander Leonids Kalnins told Latvijas Radio on Monday, 19 June.

Because of that, Latvian armed forces have talked with representatives of all participating countries and warned them to be prepared for possible provocations. Kalnins said this matter has been discussed with troops as well.

Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis told LTV this morning that concerns are well-founded. Provocations have been noted in Lithuania. For example – fake news were reported in Lithuania, stating that NATO soldiers had, allegedly, raped a woman.

Kalnins admitted that soldiers’ contacts with residents will be wider from now on, because armed forces have to leave military bases to participate in exercises.

Kalnins also reminds that Canada is committed to leading the unit in Latvia for at least three years. The number of troops in the multi-national unit is not expected to change much over the years. Troops will actively participate in exercises in Adazi and across most of Latvia.

The infrastructure to welcome foreign troops in Latvia is not complete yet. Kalnins says all troops will be sleeping in barracks by the end of August. Currently more than 50% of troops live in barracks. Builders promise to finish most of the intended infrastructure after Jani Celebration.

Bergmanis adds that no complaints have been received about partial infrastructure so far. Adazi is gradually becoming a modern military base, said the minister. He noted that it is also important to think about formation of leisure infrastructure.

Speaking of Russia’s reaction to the formation of a new unit in Latvia, Kalnins says the neighbouring country is not happy. Still, the forces deployed in Latvia are rather small, adding that «our activities are completely transparent and focused on defence». In this context, Kalnins says Latvia’s army waits for the upcoming joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises Zapad without a lot of worries and drama.

Bergmanis says the only worrying aspect of Zapad exercises is that there is no transparency with those exercises. This is why Latvia’s Defence Ministry is waiting for the promised invitations for observers.

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