US deploys Black Hawk choppers in Latvia to protect ‘sovereignty & bright future’ (VIDEO)

From RT

March 2, 2017

US deploys Black Hawk choppers in Latvia to protect ‘sovereignty & bright future’ (VIDEO)
Five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and nearly 50 crew members have arrived in the Latvian capital of Riga as part of NATO’s Atlantic Resolve operation which sees an enhancement of American forces across the Baltic States.

The helicopters were unloaded from a transport plane on Wednesday and welcomed by officials including US Ambassador to Latvia Nancy Bikoff Pettit.

“US Air Force transport aircraft with UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and military units Phoenix 10th Air Brigade of the US Army arrived at Riga airport,” the Latvian Defense Ministry reported. The ministry said earlier that the new arrivals will replace the existing unit of Black Hawk helicopters deployed at the Lielvarde Air Base in central Latvia.

“We are thrilled to welcome so many excellent American soldiers, who will serve as members of the continuing US aviation presence deployed to NATO’s eastern flank in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve,” Ambassador Pettit said at Riga International Airport.

“This year, thousands of US soldiers will rotate through Latvia…,” Pettit added. “You can be assured that they… are committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with our Latvian allies to protect the independence, sovereignty, and security of Latvia.”

“I see nothing but an incredibly bright future for US and Latvian relations because of how closely our two countries work together,”said Maj. Gen. Timothy Zadalis, US Air Forces in Europe vice commander.

The deployment of the choppers in Latvia marks another phase of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which began in April 2014, following the Crimean referendum where people voted to split from coup-stricken Ukraine and join Russia.

In total, the US Air Force is offering the Eastern European countries a total of 85 aircraft, including CH-47 Chinooks, UH-60 Black Hawks, and AH-64 Apaches. Medical evacuation helicopters and some 2,200 soldiers will also be deployed to assist the helicopter forces in Eastern Europe.

Ar lidmašīnu "Galaxy" no ASV Latvijā nogādā helikopterus "Black Hawk"

Atlantic Resolve is perceived by Washington as a demonstration of continued US commitment to the collective security of Europe in view of alleged Russian “assertiveness.” US troops and hardware will be constantly stationed in the Eastern European countries on a rotational basis in this operation.

“Task Force Phoenix, led by the 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, signifies the first rotational combat aviation brigade deployed to provide a persistent presence in Eastern Europe,” the US Air Force said in a press release.

Russia has continuously criticized the buildup of NATO forces on its borders, where the military bloc has also fortified its naval positions in the Black Sea. In Romania, the US and NATO maintain a naval task force, along with Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense sites which became operational earlier this year.

Last month, speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, noted that “NATO’s expansion has led to an unprecedented level of tension over the last 30 years in Europe.”

President Vladimir Putin has accused NATO of meddling in Russian affairs and trying to provoke a conflict. Putin warned that the alliance, with its “newly-declared official mission to deter Russia,” and repeated attempts to “draw us into a confrontation” poses a threat to global security.

READ MORE: NATO expansion led to tension in Europe unprecedented in last 30 years – Lavrov

“They are provoking us constantly and are trying to draw us into a confrontation,” the Russian leader stated in February, adding that NATO states are continuing their attempts to “interfere in our internal affairs in a bid to destabilize the social and political situation in Russia itself.”

https://www.rt.com/news/379127-us-black-hawk-helicopters-latvia/

“Showcasing freedom of movement,” US military marches across Lithuania prior to large-scale Baltic NATO drills (VIDEO)

From RT

© Ruptly

The Ambassador of Latvia to NATO: our biggest threats are the inflow of Ukrainian refugees and the outflow of our population

From Fort Russ

August 4, 2015
Translated by Kristina Rus
The Ambassador of Latvia to NATO, Indulis Berzins announced the list of the biggest threats to the country on the program “900 seconds” on the channel LNT.

Indulis Berzins, who previously held various government posts, entered the position of Ambassador to NATO last week. He shared his perspective about the security of the state on a TV program. The greatest threat is a huge influx of refugees from Ukraine. As the diplomat noted, he was warned about such a scenario by the experts involved in the Ukrainian crisis.

Additionally, Indulis Berzins said that a threat to Latvia is the pessimistic mood of its inhabitants, many of whom resent their country and move abroad. 

“If the citizens of Latvia will not agree that we need this state, it will create the greatest threat to the security of the country,” – the Ambassador said. 


He also noted that “a group of professional commentators appeared online, which rejects the transatlantic orientation of Latvia”.

Indulis Berzins added that “the most important thing now is to ensure the security of the entire region.” In his words, “the increased presence of allies in the Baltic States, including Latvia, would enhance security and would give a clear signal to any country, that would want to somehow interfere in our internal affairs”.

Speaking about the possible deployment of NATO bases in the Baltic States, the Ambassador said that “now we are working hard to implement the decisions of the Wales summit, not requiring a permanent presence of military forces of other countries of the Alliance in Latvia”.

At the same time, he said, “various military exercises and maneuvers conducted in Latvia, are the guarantor of the policy of containment”.

Indulis Berzins added: “This format does not involve the need for permanent bases. It involves provision of weapons, ammunition and arms, which is very significant — if the situation gets worse, the soldiers, coming over here, will not have to bring equipment.”

However, he stressed that “a permanent base of the Alliance was established in Latvia or the presence of allies was increased, it would only help its security”. At the same time a new envoy to NATO has recognized that there is no direct military threat to Latvia today.

 

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-ambassador-of-latvia-to-nato-our.html

In Latvia, “Summer Shield” land, air, naval exercises wrap up

From Rick Rozoff

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

March 30, 2015

Exercise Summer Shield set to wrap up

image_thumbnail

ĀDAŽI, Latvia: In support of the Alliance’s enhanced readiness, more than 1100 troops have taken part in Operation Summer Shield XII at the Ādaži Training Area, Latvia. The exercise which began on 21 March concludes on Tuesday, 31 March.

The annual training event is a combined land, air and naval exercise, with participants from Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Luxembourg, Canada and the U.S.

The goal for the training event is to integrate and coordinate fire support in infantry unit operations through combat support elements.

“Summer shield is all combat support units involved in defensive operations,” said Summer Shield Director Maj. Girts Savins. “The main objective is to coordinate the joint fire elements in the exercise.”

Artillery, aviation, defence against weapons of mass destruction, support of engineers in united operation with overcoming obstacles, involving joint fire support front observers and close air support controllers are all elements the troops were trained and tested on.

“I was initially thinking this would be a bigger challenge but all the troops were very professional and they overcame all the small differences, said Major Savins. “By the end they were working effectively and efficiently hand-in-hand.”

Moved to Latvia in 2014, Summer Shield tests the strength of the Alliance by bringing NATO members together working towards a common goal.

“The training we are doing in this part of the world is showing the world that we are together and we are looking to have our countries be independent,” said Major Savins.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/nato-completes-land-air-naval-drills-in-Latvia/

Authorities in Latvian capital permit march of Waffen SS legion veterans

From TASS, March 5, 2015

Russian-speaking anti-fascists will hold an action of protest the same day

Latvian Waffen SS legion veterans march

Latvian Waffen SS legion veterans march
© ITAR-TASS/Timur Subkhankulov

RIGA, March 5. /TASS/. City Hall in the Latvian capital Riga has issued permission to Latvia’s extremist organizations to hold public events on March 16, which is observed unofficially as the day of commemoration of the Latvian Waffen SS legion.

Russian-speaking anti-fascists will hold an action of protest the same day, the City Hall spokesman Ugis Vidauskis told reporters on Thursday.

Riga’s City Hall received four requests for holding public functions on March 16 this year. The organization of Waffen SS veterans, Daugavas Vanagi (the Daugava Hawks in Latvia) plans holding a traditional march of former Latvian legion soldiers and their supporters from among the young radicals to Freedom Monument in the downtown from 11:00 hours to 13:00 hours EET.

A meeting of Society in Support of National Warriors is to take place on the square in front of the Freedom Monument from 06:00 hours to 13:00 hours.

The Latvian Anti-Fascist Committee has scheduled an action of protest against the march of the legion veterans.

Igor Shishkin (Latvian spelling Igors Siskins), the leader of a radical nationalist center named after Latvia’s notorious Nazi collaborationist Gustavs Celmins, has filed a private request for permitting an action near the Freedom Monument on March 16.

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said on Wednesday government ministers would not take part in the Waffen SS proponents’ march.

“All the ministers have consent on and understanding of the fact that the nationwide Day of Memory of Fallen Soldiers is November 11 and that’s why they’ll abstain from the potentially provocative public actions,” she said.

On the eve of March 16, 2014, the government passed an official decision to prohibit ministers’ participation in the public events organized by radicals.

This year, however, the Minister of Environment and Regional Development, Einars Cilinskis who represents the nationalistic bloc said he was going to join the march in spite of the ban. In the wake of his decision, Prime Minister Straujuma took a decision to dismiss him.

http://tass.ru/en/world/781343

U.S. troops and armor to begin 1,100-mile convoy through Eastern-Central Europe

This is a very foolhardy “show”. Notice that this will also involve “air support”. The noise should be considerable. The presence of armor and troops on European roads will not just be inconvenient. It will increase tensions and fears — its goal. The U.S. wants Europeans to be afraid; it increases support for more and more NATO missions, soldiers, and weapons.

The U.S. puts all of Europe in very real danger, not Russia.

From Rick Rozoff

Stars and Stripes
March 12, 2015
Dragoon Ride will send US troops through eastern Europe in show of support
By John Vandiver

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STUTTGART, Germany: U.S. Army soldiers with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment will soon begin a 1,100-mile convoy through six countries en route to their home station in Vilseck, Germany as they wrap up months of training with allies in Poland and the Baltics, Army officials said.

Troops will be taking their Strikers on a “road march,” dubbed Dragoon Ride. They will be accompanied by aerial reconnaissance support provided by the Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, U.S. Army Europe said.

Normally, military vehicles would be shipped back to their home base by rail after such a training mission, not by road in a high profile convoy.

To reassure countries on Russia’s western periphery, the U.S. and other NATO allies have been training continuously in the Baltics and Poland since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine last year

“This is a complex mission involving a significant amount of international diplomatic and military cooperation,” Lt. Col. Craig Childs, a USAREUR spokesman, said in a statement. “It will allow all units involved an opportunity to test their unit maintenance and leadership capabilities while simultaneously providing a highly visible demonstration of U.S, commitment to its NATO allies and demonstrating NATO’s ability to move military forces freely across allied borders in close cooperation.”

The journey will take soldiers with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, from separate training locations in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and convoy them through Latvia, the Czech Republic and finally to their home base at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany, according to USARUER.

The 4th Infantry Division deployed a headquarters element to Europe in February to command and control U.S. land forces supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve, the military’s effort to train and reassure allies while sending a message of deterrence to Russia. The 4th Infantry Division will be responsible for overseeing the road march from the Joint Multinational Training Command at Grafenwöhr, Germany, and from mobile command group locations forward in operational area, USAREUR said.

Before Dragoon Ride begins, troops will hand over responsibility for USAREUR’s land force training mission in the Baltics and Poland to soldiers with the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, from Ft. Stewart, Georgia, USAREUR said.

On Monday, hundreds of tanks and other military vehicles arrived in Latvia. They will be followed by 3,000 troops from the Georgia-based unit. Their rotation is expected to last until June.

https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/u-s-troops-armor-to-begin-1100-mile-convoy-through-eastern-central-europe/