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    NATO 'Tornado' Military Drills to Start in Estonia in May

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    Military exercises codenamed Tornado, with participation of the US Army paratroopers kick off in Estonia Monday, the General Staff of the country's Defense Forces said in a statement.

    TALLINN (Sputnik) — Tornado will be the last drills before the major Siil 2015 war games, the largest military exercises in country's history, due to be held in Estonia on May 4-15 with participation of nearly 13,000 US and Estonian soldiers.

    "On Monday, nearly 2,000 soldiers of the First Infantry Brigade of Estonian Defense Forces, as well as divisions of US paratroopers, will begin five-day Tornado drills, which will demonstrate the level of their readiness to participate in larger Siil (Hedgehog) military exercises," the statement read.

    The presence of US soldiers in the Baltic region is a part of the military operation Atlantic Resolve, a demonstration of US commitment to NATO members across Eastern Europe through international training and security cooperation.

    NATO has been strengthening its military presence along Russia's western border amid the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, claiming Moscow's involvement.

    Moscow has repeatedly stressed that NATO expansion toward Russian borders could further aggravate existing tensions and undermine regional security.

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