12:47 GMT05 December 2020
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    In a potentially provocative move, the US has deployed a number of its nuclear-capable A-10 ground attack planes in Estonia in direct vicinity of the Russian border.

    The A-10 “tank busters” arrived at the Ämari Air Base as part of a flying training deployment in support of NATO’s Operation Atlantic Resolve on August 22.

    In Moscow, defense expert and political analyst Ivan Konovalov described the stationing of US ground attack aircraft close to the Russian border as nothing short of a provocation.

    “We have to see whether these A-10s are going to be armed with nuclear weapons… The Americans have around 200 B61 nuclear bombs scattered across Europe. Bringing them to Estonia would cause a major scandal. Russia will be the first to protest. Defending a country’s airspace is one thing, but ground attack planes target ground forces. Is somebody expecting a ground invasion there?” Ivan Konovalov told Sputnik on Friday.

    Konovalov said he expected a further buildup of NATO and US forces close to Russia’s borders.

    The Estonian government has offered the Ämari base as a facility to be used to conduct NATO’s Baltic Air Policing patrols. In April 2014 the mission began with the arrival of four Danish F-16s.

    In September 2015, several Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighters were deployed at Ämari.


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    NATO, deployment, provocation, F-16, B61-12, A-10 Warthog, F-22 Raptor, Ivan Konovalov, US, Estonia
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