NATO countries are staging massive air, land and sea exercises across Russia’s northern borders this month in response to warnings from the Kremlin and strategic analysts that President Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons are more than bluster. The exercises in Estonia, Lithuania and Norway involve more than 21,000 troops and state-of-the-art military hardware. Coupled with U.S. training of Ukrainian forces and the recent activation of a 3,000-strong rapid-reaction force to defend Eastern Europe, they appear intended to send a message to Moscow that the alliance is ready to defend its new members in Russia’s backyard. Troops, trainers and readiness testers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been bolstering defenses along what Eastern Europeans call the new Iron Curtain. Although it still divides East from West, this time there are former Soviet subjects on the western side of the ideological border. NATO’s widening presence along Russia’s frontiers is a reaction to Putin’s aggressive actions against Ukraine over the last year, which have rattled nerves throughout the arc of states that still has painful memories of postwar Soviet domination. On Monday, Estonia launched the biggest ground maneuvers in its history, Operation Hedgehog, drawing 13,500 troops from across the 28-nation alliance. In Lithuania, Operation Lightning Strike deployed more than 3,000 soldiers and police officers on a mission to test the effectiveness of military-civilian collaboration. The goal: to defeat the kind of stealth invasion and proxy war that Ukraine has been fighting for more than a year against pro-Russia separatists whom the Kremlin denies arming and instigating. Submarines and an additional 5,000 sailors from the United States, Germany, Norway and non-NATO member Sweden have been engaged in antisubmarine maneuvers in the North Sea that have also drawn in surface vessels and aircraft from across the Western alliance. NATO’s saber-rattling hasn’t exceeded the scale of Russia’s recent war games, which have included a March show of force in the Barents Sea involving 30,000 soldiers and sailors and hundreds of warships and aircraft. But NATO’s sweeping operations and displays of firepower have bolstered Putin’s claims to be the target of a U.S.-inspired plot to conscript Moscow’s former allies in isolating Russia to leave it vulnerable to Western-executed “regime change.” Putin has been making pointed reminders to his Western foes that Russia is nuclear-armed and ready to defend itself by any means necessary. In a docudrama produced for the March 18 anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, Putin said he contemplated the use of nuclear weapons in what the film cast as a white-knuckled confrontation with NATO over its purported luring of Ukraine away from its traditional alliance with Moscow. Veteran military and political analysts say the threats to go nuclear shouldn’t be brushed off as idle. Russia’s conventional armaments, for all their ability to roll over antiquated armies in Georgia and Ukraine, are woefully inadequate for any fight against NATO, said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent defense analyst whose contacts within the military hierarchy date to the Soviet era. Putin executed a “strategic turn” in 2007 when he announced a massive rearmament program for the current decade, costing more than $500 billion in today’s dollars and much of it focused on modernizing the nuclear arsenal, Felgenhauer said. “Russia has already shown it is prepared to use the military to force its will on neighbor countries to secure its sphere of influence,” said Felgenhauer. “Russia’s leaders know they can’t respond to the United States with a conventional attack so they have to resort to brinkmanship,” with warnings that any provocation could be answered with a nuclear strike, he said. An atmosphere of imminent danger has been whipped up in Russia, Felgenhauer said, by reports spread from the hawks in Putin’s inner circle that U.S.-funded missile shields planned for NATO allies Poland and Romania are intended to put Putin’s residences in St. Petersburg and Sochi within range of Western rockets. “Events have been overtaken. We are now in a prewar situation,” the analyst said of the sentiment prevailing among ordinary Russians.
It’s about time!! We’ve been calling on the Obama Administration for over ten months to participate in such NATO exericises in eastern Europe. Specifically, we’ve been calling for exactly this; conducting MAJOR military exercises in countries that border Russia…with a STRONG showing of U.S. military personnel; not just a few hundred token troops here and there. With mother Russia being very bold and brazen in its muscle flexing, it’s WAY past time we responded in kind, and showed Vlad, and his band of thugs, that we are NOT intimidated…and that we stand with our allies, like Poland, in eastern Europe.
British fighter jets were scrambled on Wednesday in response to the sighting of two Russian military aircraft near UK airspace, hours after three Russian ships were monitored as they entered the English Channel. “Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched today after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK airspace,” said a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman. The planes were launched from the Lossiemouth military airbase in northern Scotland. Britain’s Royal Navy earlier kept track of three Russian ships, including a destroyer, after they entered the English Channel, according to the defence ministry. It is the latest in a string of similar incidents and comes at a time of tense relations between London and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine and the inquiry into the death of Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko.
Seems as if Russia is continuing to test the boundaries, and patience, of our NATO allies. Not good! If one of these Russian jets should actually enter UK airspace, then the UK should blow it/them out of the sky. It is time to stop this dance, and put our foot down with respect to Moscow’s global bullying. Japan should absolutely do the same thing, and we should stand WITH them if they take that sort of action. In the meantime, here at The Daily Buzz, we’ve been calling on the Obama Administration to take some very specific proactive military steps to thwart Russia’s aggression. We’ve outlined these measures on many occasions over the last 10+ months. They include, but are not limited to: 1) Rebuiding the missile defense shield in Poland that Obama so foolishly had dismantled in order to appease Vlad. And, look how good that worked for us. Rebuilding that would send a message to Poland that we stand with them. Currently they feel a little abandoned. It’s time repair that relationship. That would also send a clear message to Vlad, and his fellow thugs, that we stand WITH Poland. 2) Parking an entire U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG), not just some random destroyer, in the Baltic. Parking a major U.S. military power projection platform in mother Russia’s backyard like that would send a crystal clear message to Moscow; that we can protect our eastern European allies in the region and can react VERY quickly to ANY military threat in that region. Those are just a couple of the many military proactive measures we’ve been advocating here at The Daily Buzz for almost year. It’s time for the Obama Administration to step things up. Russia, so far, hasn’t been impressed.
The Swedish Air Force and NATO jets on Tuesday tracked four Russian combat aircraft flying with their transponders turned off over the Baltic Sea, officials said. The Russian planes – two long-range, nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers and two Sukhoi Su-27 fighters – were flying in international airspace, according to Sweden’s Armed Forces and alliance sources. NATO said it scrambled Danish jets and Italian jets based in Lithuania early Tuesday to identify the Russian aircraft which it said were heading to the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. “The Russian military aircraft did not use their onboard transponder; they were not in contact with civilian Air Traffic Control and they were not on a pre-filed flight plan,” a NATO military officer said on condition he not be identified by name in keeping with alliance practice. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said it was “unacceptable” for the Russian planes to be flying with shut-off transponders that are necessary for identifying aircraft on radar, calling it violation of international aviation rules. “This has happened now on a number of occasions and in a very challenging way,” Wallstrom told reporters in Stockholm. “We are tired of always having to protest against this kind of … breach of rules.” NATO and Sweden, which is not a member of the alliance, have reported an increase in Russian air maneuvers over the Baltic Sea in recent years.
This is only gonna continue to get worse until we take a stand.. With that in mind, we’ve been calling on the Obama Administration to get off its butt, admit his and Hillary’s so-called “reset” has been a total failure, and park an entire U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in the Baltic, not just some random destroyer. Then, the next time these Russian aviators pull a stunt like that, we’ll have the necessary resources right there to deal with it. And, having a major military power projection platform right in Russia’s backyard would send a VERY clear message to Moscow; that we’re not gonna be bullied by Moscow’s aggression.