Russian submarine
Russian submarine

The Latvian armed forces spotted a Russian submarine in the exclusive economic zone of Latvia

The warship was seen at a distance of 27 nautical miles from the territorial waters of the country. The vessel was a Russian Project 877 Paltus submarine, the National Assembly of Latvia said on Twitter on Monday.

Previous sightings of Russian naval vessels occurred in November 2014 and February 2015 when a corvette-class warship and a submarine appeared in the exclusive economic zone.

Unlike territorial waters, exclusive economic zones are not closed to warships of other states.

In recent months Russia has been more active in the region, with military aircraft and ships using the area for training. In some cases, aircraft have briefly crossed into the airspace of other countries, such as Estonia.

Baltic countries have become increasingly concerned about their own sovereignty since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, fearing that a precedent of annexation during Soviet times and their geographical location on Russia’s doorstep could see them sucked into a wider regional conflict.

The war in eastern Ukraine that’s concerning Baltic governments has seen more than 6,000 people die since it began one year ago. Pro-Russian rebels still occupy large parts of the Donbas region and have defeated the Ukrainian military in most battles.

Meanwhile, the Latvian government has announced plans to strengthen its eastern border with Russia by spending $15.9 million on advanced security.

“Within four years, we are planning to establish on the eastern border a border strip 12 meters wide, equipped with modern security systems,” said Latvian Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis. “It will improve the response time of Latvian border guards.”