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US Marines storm Estonian coast in first amphibious landing exercise on the Baltic Sea

LOKSA, Estonia (AP) — United States Marines are conducting their first amphibious landing exercise in a territory that was once part of the Soviet Union.

In Tuesday's joint military exercise some 130 combat-ready marines, along with Estonian troops, disembarked from the transport vessel USS Gunston Hall to occupy a beach near the town of Loksa on Estonia's eastern coast.

The head of the U.S. Marine Corps in Europe said it was the first time Marines had carried out such an amphibious landing on the Baltic Sea. It took place just 140 kilometers (90 miles) from the Russian border.

Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo said the drill represented a pledge from the United States and other NATO allies to provide security for Estonia and its Baltic neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania.