Located in the easternmost part of Estonia, Narva is separated by a river from Russia
As tensions between the West and Russia continue to escalate over the Ukraine crisis, American military combat vehicles and British soldiers paraded Wednesday through the Estonian border city of Narva. This symbolic move highlights the stake for both sides, especially considering Narva is just 300 yards from Russia border.
Why did they choose Narva for Independence Day parade?
The U.S. Army vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, paraded through Narva in a show of Western unity against the Russian aggression. The event was Estonia’s Independence Day. Soldiers and vehicles from the U.S. Army’s Second Cavalry Regiment were taking part in the Independence Day military parade. In total, over 1,400 NATO troops marched the streets of Narva. The choice of location has sent a clear signal to Moscow.
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Narva is situated in the easternmost part of Estonia. The border city is separated by a river from Russia. Narva has been cited as a potential target for Russia if it turns its attention from Ukraine to the Baltic states. Estonia, along with Lithuania and Latvia, joined NATO in 2004. Experts believe that it was the fear of Ukraine joining NATO that prompted the Kremlin to get involved in the Ukraine crisis, including the annexation of Crimea.
U.S. reminds Russia of its presence in the region
Russia has long complained about NATO’s aggressive expansion. Vladimir Putin has accused that the Western military alliance was intruding into Russia’s “sphere of influence.” Baltic states have said that the Ukraine crisis demonstrates why they wanted to join NATO.
American tanks also paraded in Riga, Latvia in November for Latvia’s Independence Day. Over the past few months, the U.S. has sent hundreds of soldiers to join NATO exercises in the Baltic states. These moves should act as a powerful reminder of American military presence on the ground in eastern Europe.
The parade in Narva comes as Russia-backed separatists continue to fight Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine. Separatists have violated a ceasefire agreed earlier this month. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said that the ceasefire was “non-existent.”