Urban combat training drills are scheduled to take place in a major Baltic city. With this, NATO is set to test the ‘psychological resilience’ of civilians.
Latvia’s capital Riga is due to become a mock battlefield for NATO troops in the coming days, according to the country’s military.
The war games, which are a part of the yearly Namejs 2022 drills, are scheduled to occur throughout the city from October 5 to October 9.
“The National Armed Forces calls on the citizens to treat the ongoing military exercises with understanding. Their aim is to improve the comprehensive national defense capabilities and strengthen regional security,” the military said in a statement.
Authorities have frequently warned of the forthcoming drills in recent days, issuing various bulletins detailing the exact sites of the upcoming events. The multinational exercise Namejs 2022, which has been staged in the country since 2014, features approximately 8,000 service personnel from both local forces and NATO’s Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia, NATO Force Integration Unit Latvia, and other components of the US-led alliance.
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The urban training “in realistic conditions” is intended to sharpen soldiers’ fighting skills and improve cooperation among diverse units and military branches. Furthermore, the drill is vital to “strengthen the psychological resilience of society,” as it shows “every citizen that we will do everything to protect the country,” according to the military.
After last year’s catastrophe, when similar urban military training during Namejs 2021 drills took Riga citizens off guard, the continual public warnings about the impending drills appear to be intensive. On that instance, the military failed to issue a clear warning about the training, and footage of bystanders trapped in simulated crossfire went viral. The military was forced to apologize due to public outrage.
“During such drills, we only use blank cartridges, which make noise but do not pose any danger to the health and life of others. In this case, blank cartridges were also used, and this situation was a bitter misunderstanding, for which we apologize,” the ministry said at the time.