A Russian jet is intercepted by a NATO jet earlier this year near Baltic borders (photo: twitter)
The increased presence of Russian jets and warships near Latvia's borders are a cause for concern but do not pose a direct military threat to the country, the head of Latvia's army has said.
Russian jets have been spotted flying close to Baltic borders over 140 time this year, Raimonds Graubold, the commander of Latvia's National Armed Forces told members of a Parliamentary Inquiry today.
"All these processes cause concern. I have a question, why is such a demonstration of force needed? There must be some political reason behind it. There should not be fear of a direct threat, as we have to see the full picture about how the escalation will turn out. However, we know that any escalation can lead to unpredictable moves," Graube said.
The army chief told officials Russian jets do not turn their transmitters on when flying close to the borders. NATO jets are therefore forced to take off and identify the aircrafts.
NATO jets are currently patrolling Baltic skies amid what the Baltic states see as a direct threat from Russia.
Russian jets used to approach the Latvian border about ten times a year, however, the current situation has completely changed. Russia demonstrates its force not only near the Baltic borders, but also near Finland, Norway, and the Far East, Graube added.