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Estonia Declines Russian Invitation For Security Talks


Estonia -- along with several other Baltic Sea countries -- has reported several violations of its airspace by Russian warplanes in the past year. (file photo)

Estonia -- along with several other Baltic Sea countries -- has reported several violations of its airspace by Russian warplanes in the past year. (file photo)

Estonia says it has declined an offer from Russia to hold talks on Baltic Sea security.

Defense Ministry spokesman Andres Sang said on September 22 that such "military-political" meetings between NATO-member Estonia and Russia are impossible because of a 2014 decision by NATO to freeze civilian and military cooperation with Moscow.

He said any talks between Russia and Estonia would have to be held within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Sang added that the invite from Moscow was likely meant "to play [NATO] members against each other."

After a NATO-Russia Council meeting in July, Russian officials said they may consider a proposal to reduce the chance of an accidental military confrontation in Baltic Sea airspace by turning on the transponders on its military planes.

Estonia -- along with several other Baltic Sea countries -- has reported several violations of its airspace by Russian warplanes in the past year.

Estonia's Defense Ministry accused Russian warplanes of "incredibly reckless" behavior in flying within Estonian airspace in May.

Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Russian media reports that the Kremlin sent similar security talk invitations to NATO members Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, as well as to Sweden and Finland.

Based on reporting by AP
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