Starting today, April 7, until April 17, the annual "Operation Summer Shield XI" military exercise will be held at the Adazi Military Base in Latvia; 600 soldiers from Latvia, Estonia and the United States will participate in the exercise, reports LETA. The goal of the exercise is to improve combat support capabilities and cooperation with other units of armed forces.
As in previous years, U.S. marines, representing the Black Sea Rotational Force deployed in Romania, will take part in the exercise. The Black Sea Rotational Force, which consists of 300 U.S. marines, provides support for local defense forces in the Black Sea region, the Balkans and the Caucasus region by regularly participating in joint exercises and improving the emergency response capabilities of more than 20 countries.
Lithuania will participate in the exercises as an observer.
Following Russia’s unilateral aggression against Ukraine, the United States has expressed readiness to increase its military presence in the Baltic region. The United States may run more ground and naval military exercises to help the Baltic States beef up their defense capacity, said U.S. Vice President Joe Biden last month, adding that rotating U.S. forces could be deployed in the Baltic region.
The National Armed Forces are already holding negotiations with the United States regarding the proposed increase in U.S. military presence in the region.
The United States previously also decided - before the Ukraine crisis began - that around a hundred U.S. soldiers would participate in the "Summer Shield" exercise in Latvia this April.