16:54 Jun. 9, 2016
Russia reportedly uses surveillance drones to spy on neighbour states
In order to protect Latvia's military interests, its servicemen now have the right to down or destroy drones spotted flying near the army bases. The parliament has adopted amendments to the Law on aviation allowing commanders to order forced landing of an unmanned aerial vehicle.
The move comes after numerous reports of Russian drones near Baltic states' borders, as well as warships and submarines near Latvia's exclusive economic zone.
Earlier, the Estonian Security Police warned about possible operations of Russian secret services in Estonia via spy drones.
Reconnaissance drones are allegedly widely used by Russia's special services in its neighbouring states. In eastern Ukraine, border guards and military have repeatedly spotted unmanned aerial vehicles coming from the Russian territory.
Last week, the Ukrainian military shot down a militant-controlled drone flying over the village of Smolianynove, 17 km from the town of Ukrainian-held Sievierodonetsk. In April, a drone originating from Russia was shot down, which was used to observe the area in bad weather conditions, as well as to drop light goods.
Currently, NATO is considering sending international battalions to Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, where soldiers are supposed to undergo regular rotation. The troops will be provided by Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Four British Royal Air Force Typhoons are expected to join the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission.