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Germany and Latvia starts joint military exercises

Germany and Latvia starts joint military exercisesTwo NATO alliances, Germany and Latvia, have started a joint exercise on Latvian territory near Russia border as part bloc’s plan to boost air defenses against a possible Russian attack.

The operations are the part of NATO's "Persistent Presence" exercise. They involve Germany's Deployable Control and Reporting Centre, which is patrolling a section of Baltic airspace using its own and several Baltic radars.

The exercise will continue through October. Germany has deployed around 80 troops and 400 tonnes of equipment, including a deployable mobile control center. The country also sent five Eurofighter jets to fly Baltic air patrols out of Amari, Estonia.

"Our biggest concern is the unpredictability of Russia, which has proven in Georgia and Crimea and eastern Ukraine that it is ready, for whatever reason, to take military action," Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube, commander of Latvian armed forces, has told.

In July NATO decided to deploy four battalions of 3,000 to 4,000 troops to the Baltic countries and Poland in order to increase air and sea patrols to reassure those countries following Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

"Of course that worries us, and that's why it's good that the Germans are here for deterrence and to send a signal that NATO is strong and unified," Graube said.

Joint exercise is aimed to help German and Latvian troops practice the cooperation of technology, personnel on unfamiliar terrain ahead of any potential real deployment, Lieutenant General Karl Muellner, chief of the German air force, said.
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