NATO Practices Defending Estonia From Invasion In Large War Game

Monday, May 19, 2014
By Paul Martin

MAY 19, 2014

This week, NATO’s throwing a week-long dress rehearsal for a possible invasion of Estonia, in what could be an attempt to send a newly-aggressive Russia a message about the alliance’s commitment to defending its most vulnerable members. Exercise Steadfast Javelin 1 includes 6,000 troops from nine NATO countries, and according to Stars and Stripes, “infantry and reconnaissance forces, engineers, fighter jets as well as anti-aircraft teams and a cybersecurity team” are participating.

In 2007, Estonia’s web infrastructure was hit with a massive wave of probably Russian-sponsored denial-of-service attacks, and Russian cyber-attacks preceded the country’s invasion of Georgia the next year. The exercise’s cyber-security aspect suggests that NATO planners have a particular and already-familiar invasion scenario in mind.

Russia’s aggressive moves in eastern Ukraine are an open challenge to a post-Cold War European order based on bringing former Soviet bloc states into the world’s premier security alliance. The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were added to NATO in 2004, but they all have substantial Russian minorities and only became independent states during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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