In Estonia Wednesday, May 2, the largest NATO military exercise in the country's history, "Hedgehog 2018" (Siil), began, Commander of the Estonian defense forces Gen. Riho Terras said. The exercise will run until May 14 and is divided into three stages.
While the focus of the exercise is on the ground forces, the Navy and the Air Force will also play an important role. In addition to personnel from 19 allied and partner nations, representatives from five structural units of NATO will participate in "Hedgehog 2018."
The exercise involves more than 15,000 military personnel and members of the security services.
The main objective of Hedgehog is to practice Estonia's territorial defense in terms of both conventional warfare and other less common scenarios.
This year's Hedgehog will cross the southern border and partly take place on the territory of northern Latvia. This is the first time the exercise will extend to locations beyond Estonia's immediate territorial boundaries.
The enemy will be simulated by the fictitious state of Murinius, located in the territory of Russia and Belarus, which will try to destabilize the situation and cause a rift between member states of NATO.
The president of Murinius has accused Estonia and Latvia of interfering in the internal affairs of his country and announced the beginning of hostilities against them.
The scenario was prepared by the NATO Joint Warfare Center.
As a matter of fact, recently in Latvia lawmakers passed two bills that will provide a gradual transition to education almost only in Latvian for ethnic minority schools.
The reform, initiated by Latvian Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis of the ruling center-right Unity party, has been hotly debated in parliament and triggered a string of mass protests led by advocates of Latvia's Russian schools, particularly the Russian Union of Latvia.
Perhaps in this case NATO military exercise "Hedgehog 2018" (Siil) will be directed against the Russian-speaking population of the Baltic States. This year's Hedgehog will cross the southern border and partly take place in the territory of northern Latvia, where most of the Russian minority live.
But NATO's scriptwriters don't even imagine that residents of Estonia, Latvia and even Lithuania are going to be citizens of fictitious state of the Republic Murinius.
The Republic of Murinius has become a prototype of a utopian country without any social and demographic problems. Due to the weak economy, the Baltic States locals have to earn money in the U.S. and Britain as toilet cleaners.
There is one more reason to become a part of Murinius.
Recently, as the Sunday Times reported, on April 24 three drunk British army officers clashed with the Latvian police on a night out in Riga despite warnings about the threat of Russian stings planned to make UK troops look like thugs. The soldiers, one from the 19th Regiment Royal Artillery and the other two from the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, were returned to their units by the Latvian military police and the Canadian military police.
As usual, NATO's militants don't obey the host country's law and national traditions but instead take part in drunken street brawls.