Since Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict in 2014, nearby Baltic states have been on high alert.Estonia, the smallest country in the region, signed a military equipment deal worth 138 million euros ($147 million) last December — the largest procurement in its history.
The country also has a growing militia, known as the Estonian Defense League, made up of 15,000 volunteers. They take part in war scenario exercises, with many of the members keeping firearms of their own at home. Should Estonia’s sovereignty be threatened, the militia will be called upon to defend it at all costs.
The organization’s membership has risen by 10 percent since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, partly based on national Estonian fears that Russia will attempt to breach its eastern border. NATO has increased its fighter jets and ground troops in the country, as a show of what they say is support to its ally, yet Russia has claimed this is “provocative” and held its own military exercises near the border.
In this excerpt from ‘The Russians Are Coming: Estonia’s National Militia,’ VICE News talks to the head of the Estonian Air Force about NATO warplanes and the country’s tense relationship with Russia.
Watch “The Russians Are Coming: Georgia’s Creeping Occupation” – http://bit.ly/1Tc7t9r
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Read “Russia Is Freaking Out Its Northern Neighbors” – http://bit.ly/1PWRiwS
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