A rare press release from the Security Police on August 29 said that members of the public could report sightings of people wearing military uniforms or carrying weapons -- even if they suspected such people were playing airsoft (paintballing) or similar military and tactical games.
Indeed, the police also suggest that taking part in such activities during the active phase of ZAPAD could be irresponsible, given the potential for misunderstanding that could arise.
"Any military simulation measures at that time mislead both the population and the state authorities as a potential threat. The DP constantly receives and verifies information from residents on possible military activities, for example, about a possible military in uniforms either unarmed or armed, gathering or staying in rural areas of Latvia. This kind of information is thoroughly tested to exclude any threat to national security," the Security Police said.
"Military simulation can be used as a cloak for provocative actions, so both "airsoft" and "laser" players, as well as other members of military simulation events, are subject to increased risk of inspections. The DP will act within its competence and on the basis of information received on potential threats," the Security Police added.
Given the manner in which Russia moved large numbers of military personnel into eastern Ukraine and Crimea in uniforms with insignia removed, in flagrant breach of international law, such vigilance is surely justified.
Members of the public can inform the Security Police about suspicious cases round the clock on Tel: 67208964 or e-mail: [email protected].