Defense Minister orders snap military drills

Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis ordered snap military drills Wednesday to test the country's combat readiness. 

A Defense Ministry statement said the minister had "instructed the head of the National Armed Forces (NBS) to carry out unannounced inspections of combat readiness, the first of which will take place this week."

Announcing the drills, Vejonis said: "Such inspections form part of training but, above all, they will allow us to identify and deal appropriately with any potential shortcomings."

Forces will be tested on how quickly they respond to a command to muster with full equipment in a specified location and take up positions outside their usual training positions, the statement explained.

"The purpose of the unannounced inspection drill is to test and exercise not only unit leadership skills in receiving and giving orders, managing operations and coordinate the execution of orders, but also to test the ability of sub-units to act independently," the statement said.

The armed forces have asked the public not to panic at the sight of increased military activity and to show consideration when encountering military convoys on the roads.

NBS spokesman Captain Normunds Stafeckis told LSM that though the drills would have happened anyway at some point, "Of course in some way it is a reaction to the geopolitical situation we see around us."

However he added that the drills were not in response to any particular build up of Russian forces near the border, for example.

The duration of the drills - which Stafeckis stressed should not be considered "exercises" but a real test of readiness - depended on how effective the NBS response proves to be, he said. 

            

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