NATO simulates hybrid attack on Latvia

Estonia's Defense Minister Hannes Hanso confirmed on Wednesday that a simulation of a hybrid attack on Latvia was carried out at the level of NATO’s defense ministers, reported Estonia's state broadcaster ERR Thursday.

The scenario was inspired by Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. It involved an invasion of Latvia by unmarked special forces, accompanied by the sabotage of the port of Klaipeda’s oil terminal as well as a cyber attack on the alliance’s systems, reported ERR.

It also included a call of the opposing forces’ propaganda for the people of Latvia to rise up against the state.

Estonian Defence Minister Hannes Hanso explained that the simulation didn’t include a direct attack.

Latvian defense minister Raimonds Bergmanis stressed that though the ministers concentrated on the main points of the scenario, it can't be ignored that NATO is an organization based on consensus, where a decision has to be supported by 28 members. “This is the most important thing,” Bergmanis said.

According to Hanso, the simulation raised plenty of questions. “We have to make very clear how we exchange real intelligence, what the content of this intelligence is and how to build a forceful response on it,” he said.

NATO’s defense ministers will continue to discuss the subject of hybrid warfare today. Estonia’s arguments were received by the ministers with a lot more attention after the simulation, Hanso told ERR.

Scenarios involving warfare in eastern regions of Latvia have been attracting a lot of attention lately, with the RAND Corporation think tank releasing a simulation that brought about a reply by the Defense Ministry calming the public last week.

Another simulation last week was shown by the British Broadcasting Corporation and centered on conflict in eastern Latvia triggering global nuclear war.

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