1,000 foreign soldiers to participate in military exercise in Latvia this summer

  • 2014-03-27
  • From wire reports, RIGA

The government will discuss National Armed Forces soldiers' participation in the "Saber Strike 2014" exercise to take place in the Baltic countries this summer, which will also be attended by approximately 1,000 foreign soldiers.

The exercise will run from June 9 to June 20 in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Latvia is the host country for the exercise. Holding the exercise in the Baltic countries was approved before the events in the Ukraine, notes the Defense Ministry.

The military exercise will combine land and air force exercises attended by units from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, the United States, Great Britain, Finland and Norway. It is currently estimated that more than 1,000 foreign soldiers will participate in the exercise.

The exercise is necessary to improve NATO member states' cooperation, upgrade armed forces units' preparedness for conventional warfare, and improve the defense sector, civilian and municipal institutions' cooperation during operations hosted by Latvia.

According to the law, the final decision on Latvian National Armed Forces troops' participation in international military exercises in the territory of Latvia, if more than 500 foreign military troops participate in the exercise, is taken by the Cabinet of Ministers.

The relevant government decree was reviewed at a meeting of state secretaries today.

As reported, following the developments in 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 Baltic states beef up their capacity, said Vice President Joe Biden, 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 - also before the Ukraine crisis began, that around a hundred U.S. soldiers would participate in the "Summer Shield 2014" exercise in Latvia this April.