Two US military drones in Latvia

The US have deployed two MQ-1 Predator drones to Latvia, the Pentagon announced on Monday. The drones will be used in Latvia's skies in a mission that started Friday and will last until September 15.

According to AFP, two drones and 70 airmen have been deployed to Latvia in a training mission to reassure the allies wary of Russia's aggression.

The drones will be controlled from the Lielvārde Air Base, not from the United States. 

"This temporary assignment of aircraft and personnel will test their ability to forward deploy RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) to conduct air operations," said Major James Brindle, a Pentagon spokesman.

It will also "assure our Latvian allies, NATO allies and European partners of our commitment to regional security and safety," he added.

The Latvian Defense Ministry confirmed to LSM that the drones were on Latvian soil and that the deployment was for training purposes and not permanent.

Full details of the deployment and its aims can be read at the official web page of the US Air Force in Europe.

Also Tuesday, NATO announced that it had 'activated' its new 'force Integration Units' - effectively national-level command headquarters in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe:

 

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