TALLINN - The Russian Federation has been continuing its military exercises as planned during the coronavirus crisis, the "Aktuaalne kaamera" evening news program of Estonia's ETV public television reported on Friday.
Russia's Baltic Fleet conducted military exercises in the Baltic Sea in August. The exercises were not large in scale; however, Russia rehearsing amphibious operations in the course thereof placed the states around the Baltic Sea on alert.
In July, The Russian Navy celebrated the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg. In August, a naval exercise was carried out in the Baltic Sea in the course of which amphibious operations were rehearsed on the island of Gogland in the Gulf of Finland, for which the Russian Navy used landing ships deployed from Kaliningrad.
"What raises concerns the most is Russia using three large landing ships in its exercises, which are able to take a battalion to wherever Russia wants to see it dropped off," Estonian Minister of Defense Juri Luik said.
In reaction to this, Sweden, for instance, deployed its naval forces on Gotland and raised its level of combat readiness for the duration of the exercise.
"Russia's exercises at the end of August were naturally monitored. For various reasons, however, Sweden decided on Aug. 24 to increase its presence on Gotland, raise its level of preparedness and capability of collecting information on developments at sea," Martin Hurt, research fellow at the Center for International Defense Studies, said.
Luik said that Estonia is planning to increase its situational awareness in the Baltic Sea by purchasing radars and upgrading its communications systems among other things.