Estonia accuses Russia of violating its airspace by flying a helicopter for the first time, in a provocative move just before a NATO summit.
Baltic states, which are members of NATO, have also stated that Russian military exercises are being conducted daily to simulate missile strikes against their country.
This is the threat. “How we see the Russian threat… It’s never been more serious than now,” Kusti Salm, the top civil servant in the Estonian defence ministry spoke to journalists Tuesday.
Russia and Lithuania are locked in a heated dispute over the decision of Vilnius to stop certain sanctioned goods from transiting by rail to Russia’s Kaliningrad.
It was also a day before heads of government and state of the NATO alliance, which is 30 strong, met in Madrid for a historic summit. They will present plans to fundamentally restructure their defenses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Estonia claimed it summoned the Russian ambassador in Tallinn to protest the flight path of MI-8 border guard helicopter. It said that the MI-8 helicopter entered Estonian airspace for just two minutes on Saturday night without permission.
According to an Estonian military statement, the incident occurred in the south Koidula region, near the Russian city Pskov.
Salm stated that there have been “multiple border violations” by helicopters from Russia in the last week.
He claimed that one helicopter had crossed the border while another flew very close. These helicopter accidents were described by him as having occurred “multiple times in the area”.
Senior Estonian civil servant stated that “Getting across the border with a helicopter can’t be mistaken – there have been many examples in recent days.”
“Aside from the border actions, there were also provocative actions that flew very close to the border in recent days.”
Russia also conducts military exercises, including simulating missile strikes against its Baltic neighbor.
It is real life. They are simulating missile attacks on NATO territory and letting people know they are doing so,” Salm stated.