After years of facing threats far beyond its borders, NATO is now reinvigorating plans to confront a much larger and more aggressive threat from its past: Moscow.
This seismic shift has been apparent in military training exercises in this former Soviet republic, which is now a NATO member and on the alliance’s eastern flank, bordering Russia.
On a recent day, Latvian soldiers conducted a simulated attack on dug-in enemy positions in a pine forest here as two United States A-10 attack planes roared overhead and opened fire with 30-millimeter cannons.
Two days before, a B-52 dropped nine dummy bombs radioed in by the Latvians on the ground — all just 180 miles from the Russian border.
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The symbolism of the B-52s, stalwarts of the Cold War arsenal, was lost on no one. The bombers’ main mission once was to deliver a nuclear knockout punch to Soviet forces, but they were put to use for the first time over this former Soviet republic to show resolve on the new front between NATO and Russia, the heir of the Soviet war machine.
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