(March 31) Today's Top Headlines - Finland Frets as Russia Launches Military Drills on Its Doorstep - Tucson Local Media: Today's Headlines

(March 31) Today's Top Headlines - Finland Frets as Russia Launches Military Drills on Its Doorstep

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Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 10:24 am

Russian military drills near neighboring Finland have provoked concern that northern Europe may be the next focus of Moscow's seemingly renewed appetite for redrawing its borders.

Troops and jet fighters from all four military regions of Russia were deployed Sunday about 150 miles east of the Finnish border, according to the English-language newspaper Finnbay. The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that the exercises were pre-planned and that more than 50 fighter pilots took part.

Finland was part of the Russian empire for 108 years, from 1809 until Russia’s withdrawal from World War I in 1917. The Karelia region, where the war games are taking place, straddles the Finnish border and has historically been a heavily militarized zone for Moscow.

But experts say that while Moscow appears to have seized another opportunity to flex its muscles, the threat of an armed invasion is very low.

"The people of Helsinki are nervous. What Putin is doing is sending shock waves through Europe"

According to Dr. Jonathan Eyal, international director at London's Royal United Services Institute think tank, there is "no question" that these exercises show that Russia is testing its power in the region, which was reshaped by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Read more at: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/finland-frets-russia-launches-military-drills-its-doorstep-n67866 

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