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Latvia’s Defense Ministry says that Latvian residents have no reason for concern regarding Russia's decision to move its armed forces in western regions of the country into combat readiness.
Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis' (Greens/Farmers) advisor Andis Jekabsons told LETA that there is no cause for concern, as Latvia is a full-fledged NATO member and that the country's security is not in threat. Furthermore, every country, including Russia, is allowed to check the battle-readiness of their armed forces, Jekabsons said.
The AFP news agency reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Feb. 26, ordered a snap check-up of the battle-readiness of the armed forces in the west and center of the country, including the area bordering Ukraine.
"The commander-in-chief has set the task of checking the capability of the armed forces to deal with crisis situations posing a threat to the military security of the country," said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
The drill involves army, navy and air force troops based in the western military district, a vast territory bordering Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States, Finland and the Arctic.
The previously unannounced move comes amid turmoil in Ukraine that toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich and has unleashed separatist sentiment in some largely Russian-speaking regions such as Crimea.