Russian paratroopers drop near Latvian border

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In the latest display of its military might, Russia’s armed forces on Wednesday conducted drills in the western Pskov region on the borders with Latvia and Estonia, sending close to 2000 paratroopers into the sky for test jumps involving some 500 units of equipment, reported national information agency LETA.

According to AFP, citing Irina Kruglova of the Russian defense ministry, the 1,500-man en-masse sky jump was a standard feature of the drills, which are scheduled to go on until Saturday. One of the scenarios involves the capture and destruction of a simulated enemy airfield.

This is yet another in a series of military maneuvers and drills which have alarmed Russia’s neighboring countries and the West during the past year especially.    

Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis told LSM: "Military exercises on such a large scale are conducted in Pskov region on a regular basis. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 Latvian National Armed Forces have increased border surveillance. We acknowledge that each country has its right to conduct military exercises in its territory.

"Still, good practice would be to inform neighboring countries about such exercises. For example, when there are military exercises conducted in Latvia, we always inform media.”

The Russian Defense Ministry's account of the exercises is given here (in Russian).  

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