Namejs 2021 exercises with NATO countries to start in Latvia

On August 30, the National Armed Forces Namejs 2021 exercises will start in Latvia, which will be held jointly with the NATO countries. Reported by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic

Namejs 2021 exercises with NATO countries to start in Latvia

The maneuvers with the participation of more than 9 thousand soldiers will take place throughout the country until October 3. One of the official tasks of training is the implementation of tactical operations in hybrid and conventional conflicts. To work out both scenarios, Namejs 2021 was divided into two phases, each of which lasts a little over two weeks.

At the same time, according to the Latvian Ministry of Defense, allies of the republic – the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic and other states – will be involved in the exercises.

Namejs 2021 will take place not only at the Adazi test site, but also at regional sites – in Riga and adjacent districts, as well as in Jelgava, Kuldiga, Dobele, Ventspils, Aizkraukle, Jekabpils, Preili, Daugavpils, Rezekne and other cities.

The Ministry of Defense of the republic informed that within the framework of the exercises, military equipment and personnel can move anywhere in Latvia using the local infrastructure. It is specified that the military equipment of both the Latvian and allied armed forces will move along the Latvian roads and airspace. Local residents are asked to treat with understanding the possible difficulties in the movement of vehicles, and also not to worry if they see the military outside the ranges.

“Against the background of a hybrid war”

It should be noted that the holding of Namejs 2021 coincides in time with the exercises of Russia and Belarus “West-2021”, which will be held from 10 to 16 September.

At the same time, Riga does not hide the fact that it is conducting its maneuvers taking into account the future trainings of Moscow and Minsk. So, the Ministry of Defense of the republic last week reported that, taking into account the “West-2021”, organized exercises of the National Armed Forces and the State Border Service in order to strengthen their presence on the Latvian-Russian and Latvian-Belarusian borders.

Speaking at a press conference on August 27, the head of the operational planning department of the Joint Staff of the National Armed Forces of Latvia, Colonel Maris Simsons, complained that Riga had not been invited to Zapad-2021 as an observer.

“Military exercises of neighboring countries are taking place against the background of a hybrid war that Belarus is waging against us, and we are already seeing various military maneuvers both in Belarus and in Russia,” local media quoted him as saying.

Earlier, in early August, the head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry Edgars Rinkevics, in an interview with the Financial Times, announced the likelihood of an “incident” between NATO and Russia due to the West 2021 maneuvers. According to him, the Belarusian “border crisis” and military exercises may lead to “misunderstanding”.

Later in the same month, the Russian Ministry of Defense emphasized that the West-2021 trainings are of a “purely defensive nature”: they will be aimed at training troops in the conduct of hostilities in modern conditions and increasing the interoperability of military command and control bodies of the Armed Forces of Russia, Belarus, and allies and friendly states. It was also reported that “the main practical actions of the troops” will take place at a considerable distance from the Russia-NATO contact line.

“Based on the results of the exercise, options for joint actions to repel aggression, as well as to preserve the territorial integrity of the Union State will be worked out. In addition, a number of specific tasks will be worked out to create, in a short time, a grouping of troops on the basis of military formations ready in peacetime. Various methods of defensive operations and airborne assault landing will be tested”, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

As specified in the department, the exercises “West-2021” will be held in two stages at training grounds in Russia and Belarus.

“Create provocations”

According to experts, the actions of Latvia and a number of NATO countries in preparation for Namejs 2021 indicate that these maneuvers are a kind of counter-twisting on the eve of the upcoming trainings of Russia and Belarus “West-2021”.

“This is a reaction to the planned defensive exercises in Moscow and Minsk, which Riga deliberately and unreasonably interprets as a kind of threat,” Nikolai Mezhevich, chief researcher at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with RT.

Vladimir Olenchenko, Senior Researcher at the Center for European Studies, IMEMO RAS, adheres to a similar position. According to him, wishing to link Namejs 2021 with “West-2021”, Latvia and other NATO countries set themselves a very specific goal – “practicing aggressive actions in the Russian direction.”

“Russia and Belarus are carrying out maneuvers on their territory. Moreover, these trainings are aimed at protecting the borders and strengthening their own security. Namejs 2021 is needed by Latvia and other NATO members to maintain tension on the Russian borders, a certain tone of conflict, as well as to escalate the situation and create a hysterical situation,”, Olenchenko said during an interview with RT.

According to him, it is no coincidence that the maneuvers will take place throughout the territory of Latvia.

“All taboos have been removed. Latvia acts as a military training ground for NATO, where there are no restricted zones and at the same time there is no place for its own population, suffering from the inconveniences associated with maneuvers”, the expert explained.

In turn, Nikita Danyuk, deputy director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, a member of the Public Chamber of Russia, believes that NATO is very interested in the Namejs 2021 exercise being conducted in parallel with the West-2021 maneuvers.

“The real goal of the training sessions with the participation of the bloc countries is to show that Latvia and the alliance are not afraid of the notorious “aggression” from Russia, its military potential. That is why not only European countries take part in Namejs 2021, but also the United States and Great Britain, which coordinate their efforts and, if necessary, will create a military scenario, “he said in a comment to RT.

Danyuk also recalled that exercises of NATO countries or maneuvers with their participation on the border with the Russian Federation are held on a regular basis.

“This is done in order to keep the Russian defense potential in constant tension, to create all kinds of provocations, to work out scenarios of a potential conflict,” the analyst added.

At the same time, the more the Baltic countries talk about the so-called Russian threat, the more they need to back up this thesis with some kind of military preparations, Danyuk noted.

“Do not forget that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia receive funds through military exercises near the Russian borders,” he says.

However, neither Latvia nor NATO countries prefer to remember who started provoking tensions in the Baltic region, says Nikolai Mezhevich. He recalled that after Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia set themselves the strategic task of joining NATO, they began to more actively shape the image of Russia as an enemy state in order to justify the need to join the alliance.

“The Baltic states had to get into the bloc at any cost. They wanted to receive help and support from NATO, including financial. The fact that Russia wanted to strengthen its Armed Forces caused a furious surge of anti-Russian sentiment in the Baltics. The republics had to somehow formalize the military threat, and any tank on the border was interpreted as an increase in the presence of Russian military potential. The same algorithm works now. Latvia still wants to attract the attention of the bloc’s leadership in order to receive at least some dividends”, Mezhevich explained.

According to him, Moscow has repeatedly stated that there are no hostile plans in relation to the Baltic republics, but Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia continue to interpret almost any action of Russia as a threat.

“But for some reason, these republics do not take into account that their territories are depressed, surviving at the expense of EU subsidies, and therefore are not needed by anyone. Instead, the Baltic states continue to demonstrate that in any conflict they will oppose Russia, and it does not matter with whom and on whose side. At the same time, everything does not end with aggressive rhetoric – on the territory of the Baltic republics, under the guise of rotational battalions, there are always many NATO military personnel, which creates a potential threat to Russia. However, the Russian Federation keeps the situation under control and is ready to repel any possible provocations”, the analyst concluded.

Irina Taran, RT

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