Russian citizens wander into massive NATO exercise

Walking onto an army range while a major military exercise is underway is usually not a sign of great intelligence, however it is what two Russian citizens with extremist views chose to do at the Adazi base just outside Riga on Wednesday.

Two Russian citizens were arrested for illegally entering the huge military facility, representatives of the Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) told the BNS newswire.

NBS said that at 11.40 a.m. Wednesday, guards at the Adazi military base detained two persons who had entered the territory without the necessary authorization.

The intruders were detained not far from where they had climbed the fence, using a ladder. They had a small Russian national flag and leaflets with English language texts with them.

The detained persons were handed over to the law enforcement authorities. The armed forces are establishing the circumstances of the incident.

Drugaya Rossiya (The Other Russia), an organization founded by Latvia's radical pro-Kremlin activist and 'National Bolshevik' Vladimirs Lindermans, released a statement saying that the two trespassers got into the military base by means of a ladder. They claimed to have taken down a US flag and replaced it with the so called St. George's flag, associated with the Russian military, the group said.

"The United States and its allies are increasing their military presence near Russian borders. We, citizens of Russia, regard these activities as a direct threat to our state. We demand that American troops leave the Baltics and Europe," the radical group said in its statement, adding that the action was of a peaceful and warning character.

"But the US must realize that Russian citizens will not tolerate military blackmail and threats," Drugaya Rossiya thundered.

Drugaya Rossiya is among the organizations mentioned in the Latvian Security Police's report for 2014. According to claimed information obtained by the Security Police, Lindermans has allegedly been recruiting and encouraging his supporters to join unlawful groups of fighters going to eastern Ukraine to fight alongside pro-Russia separatists.

The Security Police told BNS that they were currently probing the circumstances of the incident but declined to give more details.

More than 6,000 troops from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, the UK and the US are currently taking part in the Saber Strike military exercise, which is taking place the Baltic states and Poland.

The incident happened on the same day another group, the 'Union of Citizens and non-Citizens', sent a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asking if additional NATO troops were arriving "to protect lives, property and rights also of [the] Russian-speaking population and non-citizens or is it to prevent risks deemed to come from us?"

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