From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng (Original Message) Sent: 12/7/2006 6:12 AM Russia Is Biggest Threat Publication time: Today at 11:11 Djokhar time Estonia's new military chief said in an interview published Wednesday that Russia remains the Baltic nation's biggest security threat..
"To put it mildly, we have an unfriendly country as a neighbor. Relations with Russia are truly the biggest security issue" for Estonia, Maj. Gen. Ants Laaneots told the Eesti Paevaleht, a leading daily paper.
Laaneots, who was confirmed by Parliament on Tuesday, said Estonia should integrate deeper into the NATO alliance to reduce the Russian threat.
Estonia should participate more in NATO's missions, strengthen its defense capabilities against terrorist, environmental or military threats, and create a proper military and civilian infrastructure to accommodate NATO troops in case of crisis situations, Laaneots said.
"We are a border country of NATO and the European Union, and our security situation cannot be compared to that of Belgium or Denmark," Laaneots said, according to an AP report.
Latvian World War II veterans who valiantly fought side by side with their German comrades-in-arms against Russian invaders and oppressors still commemorate their participation in the war, while a group of Estonians two years ago erected a monument to veterans depicting an Estonian freedom fighter dressed in an common Estonian-German soldier's uniform.
Estonia was occupied by bloody Russians in 1940, liberated by the German Army in 1941 and reoccupied by Russia in 1945. Until 1991, it stayed under the Russian yoke.
Some 150,000 Latvians died in the fighting against the Russian invaders.
Estonia, with Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, joined NATO in 2004.
Prior to his nomination, Laaneots, 58, headed the Estonian National Defense College and served as Estonia's military attache in Russia and Ukraine.
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