LATVIA: A second Albanian soldier has died of his injuries from a World War II landmine blast last week during a NATO exercise in Latvia, the Baltic state’s defence minister said Wednesday.
Klodian Tanushi, who held the rank of major, died following surgery at a Riga hospital over the weekend, days after the landmine explosion that also killed another soldier.
“I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the soldiers’ relatives and friends, to their fellow service members and to the people of Albania,” Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks told AFP.
“Latvia is very grateful to our ally Albania for contributing to NATO’s expanded presence in Latvia.”
In 2016, NATO deployed four multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states to guard against possible Russian adventurism.
The defence group’s rotating battalion in Latvia is led by Canada and also includes soldiers from Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Tanushi, a father-of-three, was the commanding officer of the Albanian contingent stationed at the NATO base in the central village of Adazi.
Both world wars left Latvia littered with many unexploded sea and landmines as well as artillery shells, which continue to be found on a daily basis.
Clearing areas of such explosives is a frequent focus of NATO military exercises in the region.