Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are watching with concern the latest round of Russian military drills that some analysts think might be the largest of their kind since the Cold War.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who often criticizes Russian leaders, said the war games getting underway in Belarus on Thursday are a sign the Kremlin is preparing for conflict with NATO.
“We are anxious about this drill … it is an open preparation for war with the West,” Grybauskaite told reporters.
Soldiers, tanks and weapons have arrived in Belarus, according to Lithuania’s military. Leaders and defense analysts in the Baltic states fear some of the equipment could remain in Belarus once the drills are done.
“Leaving weapons in Belarus means the Russian army could prepare bases for a sudden broad attack (…) right at the NATO border,” Lithuanian officer Darius Antanaitis said.
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