In recent years, the sense of security in the Baltic States has become more and more marked by the aggressive political and military actions of the Russian Federation.
This process has been visible since 2008 (the Georgian-Ossetian war) and its intensification took place after the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014 – or, plainly speaking – the war in Donbas Area. More frequent reports of Russian intelligence activities in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, border provocations (eg. airspace violations), cyber attacks, and finally propaganda activities on the very edge of the information war (or perhaps on the other side?) intensified the perceptible threat level.
On top of that, specialists are sure “who has the knife and who is the lamb”. Professional analysis of Western think tanks – such as Rand Corporation – concerning the huge disparities between the military capabilities of the Baltic States and the Russian Federation and the possibility of Russian occupation of most of the territories of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia within 60 hours since the outbreak of war do not leave illusions about the outcome of a potential clash (or at least its initial phase). Equally professional made visions of the future conflict, even if being a political fiction – like the BBC’s quasi-documentary – warm up the atmosphere.
Continue reading A short story about the Lithuanian defence system
The Russian government has made up decision to directly intervene in Syria with all available military capabilities and this was primarily declared and acknowledged by Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov. He mentioned straight away the following: “We never ever have made any secret of our militaries presence in Syria. Our military specialists are working there, assisting to their Syrian colleagues to master our combat weapons. However, whether is needed we will be moving forward the steps in accordance to our national legislation, to international law and in compliance to implementing our international obligations and with fully consent stemming from the Syrian legal government. We helped, are continuing to help and will help the Syrian government when it comes to supplying the Syrian army with everything it needs. Russia is sending planes to Syria with both military equipment in accordance with current contracts and humanitarian aid. Hence, Russia will be keeping fight in Syria”. This is very serious statement that actually confirms Russia’s contemporary and nearest future plans regarding how to cope with geopolitical crisis in Syria. Moscow has been a staunch ally of the Assad government throughout the uprising that began in March 2011 and later descended into a civil war. At time being, Russia does not step forward to reinforce the presence in this country. On its turn, Russia proposed to the USA Administration creation of joint coalition against “Islamic Caliphate” and reinforces the joint effort in order to destroy completely the ISIS at regional and global levels. As it is known, Russia maintains a naval base in Tartus province, south of Latakia province. In addition to that the Russian forces are building a long runway capable of accommodating large aircraft near the Hmaymeen military airport in Latakia province. In May of 2015, the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad appealed to the Russian government to deploy in Syria Russian military bases. At the beginning of September of 2015 the Russian government with endorsement of the National Security Council held its urgent session in Sochi at the end of August ordered to those militaries already sent in Syria to launch airstrike missions with Russian military jets MiG-31 exploited by the Syrian pro-Assad Air Force against ISIS units and started to provide military equipment and armament to Syria via all available transit routes, among them are to be identified as follow:
Continue reading Russia’s Military Gambit in Syria: Why Moscow Put At Alarm Its Armed Forces in Caucasus-Caspian Basin???
Russian-Belarussian drills “Zapad-2017”, planned for 14-20 September 2017, raise many doubts and questions, not only among leaders of neighboring countries. One of the reason is concentration of a large number of troops on NATO’s eastern flank, also as claimed NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg the lack of transparency of joint Russian and Belarusian forces. Limiting the access to precise observation of preparation to exercise and lack of opportunity to fully participate in planned activities does not reinforce the trust and belief in the defensive nature of drills. In the opinion of Alexandra Grushko, the Russian ambassador to NATO, this is not inconsistence with international agreements, among others with OSCE Vienna Document from 1999 “Confidence and security building measures”. The tensions in this region, especially by prism of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian hybrid war are serious, in fact this seems to confirm a new Cold War scenario of relations between the West and the East.
The “Zapad” drills, in Russian “West”, dates back to the Soviet Union, when the number of soldiers and civilian personnel involved in it reached more than 150,000 (in 1981), when they exercise defense against German aggression. From 2009 we can talk about the regularity of these maneuvers, in cooperation with Minsk. Also in that year, according to media reports, the scenario predicted a nuclear attack on Polish territory. In 2013, the combined forces defended theirs countries against Baltic terrorists. Despite the announced 13,000, in maneuvers participated about 90,000 soldiers and other personnel.
Continue reading Millitary drills and aggression, will Russia cross the border once again?