U.S. Air Force Commander Roger Brady has confirmed that from October the United States will be taking over the Baltic airspace patrols currently conducted by Germany. NATO fighters based in the Zoknjaj air base in Lithuania have been guarding the skies over the three Baltic States since Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the alliance in 2004. The operation is carried out by NATO due to the Baltic state's lack of suitable aircraft for the missions. NATO powers perform the role on a rotational basis, Germany having started its term at the end of June. Before then, the mission has been piloted by Belgian, British, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish and U.S. airmen. The alliance has agreed to continue patrolling Baltic airspace until 2011; although Baltic defense commanders have requested that NATO extend this timeframe until 2018.
A new action film concerning a plot to assassinate Estonia's president was released in Russian movie theatres last week. Titled "Den-D" (D-Day) and directed by Estonian-educated director Mikhail Porechenkov. The plot follows 'Major Ivan', whose daughter is kidnapped by a team of Estonian and Japanese villains, who then demand the assassination of the Estonian president in return for the girl's release. Major Ivan has other ideas, and turns on the criminals. Porechenkov studied at a military political school in Tallinn during the Soviet occupation. Piirsalu said that the politically charged film has already been screened in the central square of Tskhinvali, the capital of the Russian-backed, Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia, where it apparently met an enthusiastic reception.
A select group of Estonia's Kaitseliit (Defense League) voluntary corps will travel to Lithuania, to take part in the peacekeeping exercise 'Baltic Spirit 2008'. The international training will take place in the Pagudone training ground in western Lithuania on Sep. 13-20. The exercise will be the largest international war games in Lithuania this year. Estonia joins the war games for the first time in the games third year, and has pledged a platoon-sized unit formed of members from Kaitseliit's Jarva and Jogeva companies. The platoon will join together with Latvian, Lithuanian and Danish units forming an international company. The U.S. military will be present among others.