In an apparent taunting of NATO, three Russian warships were detected Sunday sailing in the Baltic Sea within four nautical miles of Latvia’s territorial waters.
Military officials in the Latvian capital of Riga reported that the appearance of the heavily-armed corvettes—Liven 551, Serpukhov 603 and Morshansk 824—was intended to test the response of the small Baltic state, a member of NATO and the European Union.
The move by Vladimir Putin was linked to the arrival in the Baltic Sea of the United States’ warship, USS Carney, which is carrying cruise missiles.
According to the news agency Fontanko.ru, the three Russian warships had been deployed to St. Petersburg prior to Victory Day on May 9, the country’s annual war commemoration day, but suddenly departed for the Baltic Sea. A source confirmed to the news group RIA Novosti that the navy parade will still take place in St. Petersburg with fewer ships participating.
The same source denied that the deployment of some ships were related to the arrival of the USS Carney.
Russia buzzed near Latvian territorial waters with a Kilo-class submarine in late April. During 2016, Russian military aircraft and naval vessels were detected near the border of Latvia on 206 occasions.
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