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Russian Paratroopers In Drills On Border With Estonia, Latvia

Up to 2,000 Russian soldiers took part in drills in the country's western Pskov region which borders EU members Estonia and Latvia on February 25 as Moscow conducted an inspection of its paratrooper units.

The drills, which will see some 1,500 paratroopers parachute en masse, were to continue until February 28, and will include soldiers capturing and destroying a fictional enemy's airfield.

Since the start of the Ukraine crisis, Russia has staged a series of drills that have alarmed its post-Soviet neighbours and the West.

Estonia marked its independence day February 24 with a military parade featuring NATO hardware and troops from Britain, Netherlands, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania on its eastern border with Russia amid heightened east-west tensions over Ukraine.

Also on February 24, Lithuania said it would return to limited conscription later this year.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP