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Monday 23.01.2017 | Name days: Strauta, Grieta
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NATO military meeting in Riga was observed by an unknown UAV

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn April, there was a high-rank NATO meeting organized in Ziemeļblāzma culture hall. Security measures were nothing short of grandiose – even the nearby streets were closed off for traffic. In spite of that, however, a suspicious UAV was spotted flying above the culture hall.

The Allied Reach 2016 NATO meeting had gathered 250 participants – military leaders of NATO command structures, security experts and 63 NATO generals. Among them was Chairman of NATO Military Committee Petr Pavel, NATO’s Supreme Allied Transformation commander General Denis Mercier and NATO’s Joint Force Command Brunssum Commander General Salvatore Farina. Local residents were not allowed near Ziemeļblāzma during the course of the meeting. With that, the surprise of Military Police guarding the area was all the larger when they noticed a suspicious UAV above Ziemeļblāzma, supposedly filming the site. The army then called in Security Police, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.

«I believe it was 12 April when we received information from Military Police regarding an individual who was supposedly carrying out unsanctioned filming of the NATO meeting in Ziemeļblāzma culture hall using a UAV. They asked for our assistance in checking this information. We joined in, located this individual, inspected materials acquired by this person and concluded that there was no need to launch a criminal process,» – comments deputy chief of Security Police Ints Ulmanis.

Nekā personīga programme found out from Latvian National Armed Forces that this was one of many recent incidents that took place near military objects. During exercises of Latvia’s navy forces, a UAV was spotted flying above one of Latvia’s warships in Liepaja. UAVs were also spotted above Latvia’s army bases.

Foreign UAVs are a source of problems for two main reasons. First – the law does not allow them to be shot down even above military objects. Second – it is incredibly hard to prove that the person found using the UAV was using it to spy. Even if the person claims that launching UAVs above military objects is a hobby for him, the army has no reason not to believe.

Defence Ministry has submitted to the Saeima amendments to the Aviation Law that will allow authorities to shoot down UAVs flying above military objects. UAV Owners’ Organization also supports these amendments.

Ukraine’s experience shows that Russia uses UAVs to scout positions of the Ukrainian army daily. Ukrainian army stationed near Mariupol has shot down UAVs on multiple occasions. Saeima National Security Committee’s head Karlis Serzants believe the time has come to limit the use of UAVs more strictly.

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