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World War 3: Tensions soar as Russia erupts over ‘extremely dangerous’ US rocket launch

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The exercises, which Russia said took place near to its border, involved “multiple launch rocket systems”, according to the US Army. The live-fire tests, named Rail Gunner Rush, involved US soldiers from 41st Field Artillery Brigade. They landed in the country towards the end of August.

US Field Artillery Regiment Commander Captain Andrew McLucas said in a statement: “Rail Gunner Rush is an exercise where we are working with our Estonian partners and allies to demonstrate our interoperability and combined capabilities.

“It’s a great opportunity, and I am really excited to get to know the Estonians we are working with.”

However, the exercises caused outcry at Russian embassy in Washington, which referred to the exercises as “demonstrative sabre-rattling”.

The embassy said in a statement: “The Russian Federation has repeated proposed to the United States and its allies to limit training activities and to divert the exercise zones from the Russia-NATO contact line.

“We consider the actions of the US Armed Forces in Estonia provocative and extremely dangerous for regional stability.

“Who is actually escalating tensions in Europe? And this is all happening in the context of an aggravated political situation in that region of the European continent.

“A rhetorical question is – how would the Americans react in the event of such shooting by our military at the US border?”

However, a US Army official has denied the live fire exercises were “directed” at any particular country.

READ: US intercepts six Russian warplanes in furious Alaskan coast standoff

In May last year, Estonia signed a defence co-operation agreement with the US.

The agreement, due to last until 2024, established areas of co-operation between the two countries including training exercises and cyber defence.

Lithuania and Latvia signed similar agreements with the US around the same time as part of ‘strategic dialogue’ between the US and Baltic regions.

Last week, US fighter jets intercepted Russian patrol aircraft off the coast of Alaska, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said.

The military branch said fighters intercepted “three groups of two Tu-142 Russian maritime patrol aircraft that entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone”.

General Glen VanHerck, commander of NORAD, said the branch had conducted more than 12 intercepts this year – “the most in recent years.”

However, CNN reports the Russian aircraft remained in international airspace despite coming within 50 miles of the coast of Alaska.



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