Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets intercept Russian military planes near Estonia

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets intercept Russian military planes near Estonia

The three Baltics are the only former Soviet republics now in the alliance.

Earlier, he met Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite at the baroque 18th-century Kadriorg Palace, which was built by the Russian Emperor Peter the Great.

"As for Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro, sadly all three countries will use this opportunity to tighten and voice once again their anti-Russian positions, while blindly hoping to benefit from that kind of one sided politics, while not thinking about the eventual cost of it", Aleksandar Sekuliс said. "While our policy is America-first, it's not America-alone", Pence said.

He will also meet North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops from Britain, France and the United States stationed in Estonia.

On Sunday, the U.S. vice president started a four-day visit to Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro. President Trump has been unclear in the past about where he draws the line with Russian Federation.

Intercepts of Russian aircraft by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have increased in recent years amid heightened tensions between the West and Moscow over Russia's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

Zapad and concurrent Russian military training could eventually involve up to 100,000 troops, The New York Times reports, citing concern among US top military brass that the drill, set to take place in Russia's western neighbor Belarus, could end up giving some of these troops the flawless pretext simply to remain in the country, pushing Russian military presence west. The U.S. vice president flew later Monday to Georgia, another former Soviet republic, and will also visit new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Montenegro, two countries facing strong pressure from Russian Federation.

Pence, who began his tour in Estonia on July 20, hopes to soothe allies rattled by Russia's aggression in Ukraine and involvement in political movements throughout the region, including one that sought to block Montenegro's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in June.

Like this: