NATO drill aims to reassure nervous Baltic states

Mission follows calls by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for troop deployment despite risk of breaking NATO-Russia pact.

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    NATO is considering a request by the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who want thousands of troops to be deployed to protect against a possible Russian invasion.

    NATO denies the move would violate a pact with Russia that the alliance would never put permanent bases in former Soviet countries. But as Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from the skies over the Baltics, countries such as Lithuania are worried about Russian aggression.

    In a recent drill, NATO pilots had 15 minutes from the alarm sounding to take to the skies. They had scrambled up to 150 times last year to shadow Russian aircraft over the Baltic.

    The lead nation in this NATO mission is Norway, backed up in Lithuania by the Italians.

    The current mission, they say, is all about reassuring the tiny Baltic states that they will not let the Russians do to them what they did to Ukraine.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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