German Troops Towards Lithuania: NATO Starts Encirclement of Russia

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German Troops Towards Lithuania: NATO Starts Encirclement of Russia

Originally appeared at DWN, translated by John T. Sumner exclusively for SouthFront; Edited by Desislava Tzoneva

NATO prepares a veritable military build-up in Eastern Europe: German soldiers are operating in Lithuania, the British undertake Estonia and US soldiers will protect Latvia. The Canadians will deploy forces in Poland. Also in the Mediterranean, combat units are reinforced. Russia considers these activities a threat, however, it has not yet announced any counter-measures.

In mid-July at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, the Alliance will pass a resolution concerning a massive military presence against Russia. Russia is classified by NATO as a threat. NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, had recently stated in Washington that the US and the EU, representing NATO, are entitled to defend their territories even on foreign soil. Critics of this strategy believe in the possibility that this military build-up might increase the risk of a military conflict between the superpowers significantly.

At a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday, the defense ministers of the military alliance want to take decisions on this issue, which are then to be sealed by the heads of states and governments in Poland. NATO wants to strengthen military presence on its eastern flank significantly and respectively deploy a separate battalion of foreign combat troops in Poland and in the three Baltic states. Germany will represent the core of the army group in Lithuania, the British will send troops to Estonia, and United States forces are expected to be sent to Latvia. It remains unclear, however, who will send soldiers to Poland.

Maybe this task will be assigned to Canada, as Polish diplomatic sources were quoted as saying by Reuters. “The Summit in Warsaw will be the last for US President Barack Obama, and the US wants it to become a success. They will ensure that a fourth nation will be added to the framework – which may put pressure on Canada,” a senior Polish Diplomat said. Germany is willing to send at least 600 soldiers to Lithuania, who will form the core of the local battalion consisting of about 1200 soldiers.

The battalions are to include around 1000 soldiers each and will not be permanently stationed in the eastern countries, but will be replaced regularly. By this rotation, the military alliance wants to avoid a formal breach of the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, prohibiting permanent stationing of a “substantial” number of combat troops in the east. The precise meaning of “substantial”, however, is controversial.

However, NATO plans do not go far enough for Poland and the Baltic states. Among other things, they demand [an] enhanced air surveillance above the Baltics by fighter jets of the alliance partners. In the past, Poland had also repeatedly demanded a permanent stationing of NATO combat troops [also]. The Baltic states and Poland feel threatened by Russia since the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014.

The NATO defense ministers will also discuss a new mission in the Mediterranean. What exactly is planned there, is difficult to judge. Officially, the rise of the extremist militia IS and the refugee crisis, are given as reasons. The IS is financed and supported by Saudi Arabia, the closest ally of the West in the Middle East. A convincing reason why the most powerful military machine in the world is not capable of defeating a group of more or less random ragtag mercenaries, not even to some extent, remains unknown. Russia is fighting on the side of Syria against IS and against the al-Nusra Front, previously backed by the US officially.
Because the NATO mission “Active Endeavour”, adopted after the attacks of 9/11 in the US, designed to fight off the extremist organisation Al-Qaeda by patrolling ships in the Mediterranean, has actually become obsolete, the Alliance is looking for a new objective in the Mediterranean. Therefore, the ministers want to consider whether the campaign should be transformed into a more general mission in order to strengthen security in the Mediterranean. Closer cooperation with the European Union which maintains its own naval deployment off the Libyan coast against human traffickers and for the rescue of refugees in distress, under the name “Sophia”, is being considered as well. Hence, the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, and government representatives from the non-NATO countries – Finland and Sweden – will be present at dinner in the NATO headquarters on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the future of the NATO mission in Afghanistan will be on the agenda, too. According to current plans, the US wants to reduce the number of its troops on the Hindu Kush from 9800 to 5500 until the end of the year. Whether Obama will stick to this withdrawal despite the deteriorated security situation in Afghanistan, is not yet clear. According to the latest information from US government circles, possibly no decision will be made ahead of the upcoming NATO Summit.

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  • jaro

    Encirclement of Russia? This picture showing peace loving Russian citizen and NATO soldiers hungry for war? Seems for me that Soviet propaganda is back! Stalin would be proud of you guys!

    • Veritas Vincit

      Your comments reveal beliefs that are detached from reality.

      – “[NATO is] a tripwire that could lead to World War 3….. [Gorbachev] tried to negotiate with the West…… an understanding was reached [that] the NATO alliance would not expand eastward. That promise was not kept. Instead, the lobbyists, both foreign and domestic, went into overdrive in a campaign to extend NATO to the very gates of Moscow. (NATO: Worse Than ‘Obsolete’, April 01, 2016)

      The build-up and expansion of the NATO bloc is an ongoing project, as is the pursuit of nuclear primacy:

      – “the United States stands on the verge of attaining nuclear primacy. It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike…. the era of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun” (The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy, Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, March/April 2006)

      – “We are starting to build a deterrent construct that will be better than mutual assured destruction” (General James E. Cartwright: Missile Defense Goes Global)

      – “It would be impossible for the system to stop thousands of incoming Soviet missiles at once, so missile defense made sense only as a way of mopping up after an initial US strike.” (Wired)

      – “We are perfectly aware that missile defense systems are defensive only in name. In fact, this is a significant component of a strategic offensive potential,” [V. Putin]

      – “We make no secret that we have military-technical means to neutralize the possible negative impact of the U.S. global missile defense system on the Russian nuclear forces,” [Russian Chief of Staff Valery General Gerasimov], etc…..

      – “the approach of dozens of potential warhead carriers with minimum flying time to the Russian borders can be considered by Moscow as a threat to the existence of the Russian state itself….. Every General Staff relies on the fact that if the enemy’s intentions are unclear they should be interpreted as aggressive (otherwise, they could be late to respond). That leaves the military alone in a vicious spiral of inevitable decisions. That’s why the US and NATO went into hysterics in response to Putin’s statement. They thought they would force him to retreat by placing him before an implicit but undeniable military threat. He accepted their proposal to raise the stakes to the max, and now it’s Washington that has to decide whether it’s worth risking uncontrolled nuclear war or retreating in front of the whole world. (NATO Missile Shield Is Practically Guaranteeing a Russian Preemptive Strike, Rostislav Ischenko, RIA Novosti /Russian Insider, 20/05/2016), etc…..

      • Veritas Vincit

        p2. ‘History is largely repeating only now it is occurring in a nuclear era’
        Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. The militarism of another bloc is globally expanding (the U.S./NATO/Israel/allied bloc) and will not cease until it reaches its logical conclusion.

        Unfortunately it is likely events have already progressed beyond return (as behaviours/modus operandi are well established, are unlikely to change significantly and therefore the outcome is logical and currently unfolding consistent with similar situations in human history). Only fools would repeat mistakes that resulted in horror but such are many. In the pursuit of global primacy, the U.S./NATO/allied bloc is employing militarism as a mechanism to achieve desired objectives. In the process they have already opened a Pandora’s box they will be unable to close. Their wars have resulted in chaos that continues to spread. But they do not yet comprehend the consequences of their ongoing and expanding actions. In time there shall be understanding.

        P.S. I am comfortable and confident in my assessment (and have provide referenced information which can be independently researched for verification, which I encourage as all important claims should be questioned). If some mock or dismiss my comments they are free to do so. Such behaviour is irrelevant. Time will reveal if my assessment is correct or not. Within a few years the answer will be clear.

    • Nexusfast123

      If you get your little war you will no doubt die along with the majority of the rest of us.

  • dutchnational

    I cannot imaging Russia being encircled in any way by some 3 to 4.000 soldiers being deployed in the Baltics.

    Given Russias military build up the last years and Russias agression re Crimea and the Ukraine and given the Baltics membership of both Nato and the EU, a signal needed to be given : stop right here.

    • Veritas Vincit

      Your beliefs are consistent with western narratives but are inconsistent with reality. The following information may provide clarification (and should make evident the nature of approaching events):

      – “Apparently they [US and EU officials] have dedicated themselves, and continue to do so, to deeply and thoroughly studying the doctrine of Dr. Goebbels. . . They present everything backwards from reality. It is one of the formulas which Nazi propaganda employed most successfully: . . . They accuse the party that is defending itself, of aggression. What is happening in Ukraine and Syria is a project of the West, a new type of war: … wars today begin with psychological and information warfare operations. . . under the cover of information commotion, U.S. ships are entering the Black Sea, that is, near Ukraine. They are sending marines, and they have also begun to deploy more tanks in Europe. . . We see that on the heels of the disinformation operation a land-sea, and possibly air operation is being prepared.” (Russian General [Leonid Ivashov]: ‘We Are At War’, February 22, 2014), etc…..

      – “Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a third World War is actually underway -“I call this struggle a third World War by other means.,” he said.” (Russian-Turkish clash building up over Syria, Debka, February 14, 2016)

      – “the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the [Ukraine] crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West [EU (economic) and NATO (military) bloc]… Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement…” (Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault, Foreign Affairs, 20/08/2014)

      – “The United States, for its part, were interested in forming a pro-Western government in Ukraine. They saw that Russia is on the rise, and were eager not to let it consolidate its position in the post-Soviet space. The success of the pro-Western forces in Ukraine would allow the U.S. to contain Russia. Russia calls the events that took place at the beginning of this year a coup d’etat organized by the United States. And it truly was the most blatant coup in history.” (Stratfor Chief’s “Most Blatant Coup in History” Interview Translated in Full, 20/01/2015)

      – “NATO should’ve been buried at the end of the cold war: instead, the NATO-crats went on the offensive – breaching the understanding reached by Western leaders with then Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev – and expanded into most of eastern Europe….. The seeds of World War III are being planted…” (Our Cold War With Russia Could Turn Hot, by Justin Raimondo, September 03, 2014), etc…..

      It is unfortunate that you do not understand what is occurring. In time you shall understand.

      • Veritas Vincit

        Contents.
        1.0 ‘U.S./NATO coup engineering operations in Ukraine’
        2.0 ‘The (long planned) integration of Georgia and Ukraine into the U.S./NATO bloc’
        3.0 U.S./NATO involvement in subsequent offensive operations’
        4.0 ‘Security/stabilisation operations preceding the conduct of a democratic referendum in Crimea’
        5.0 ‘NATO announces preparations for war against the Russian Federation’

        1.0 ‘U.S./NATO coup engineering operations in Ukraine’
        “Oleg Tsarov, who was then the People’s Deputy of Ukraine, talks about US preparations for civil war in Ukraine, November 2013 in Kiev parliament… he said: “activists of the organization ‘Volya’ turned to me providing clear evidence that within our territory with support and direct participation of the US EMBASSY (in Kiev) the ‘Tech Camp’ project is realized under which preparations are being made for a civil war in Ukraine…. The project is currently overseen and under the responsibility of the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt… I have learned they succeeded to access the facilities of ‘Tech Camp’ disguised as a team of IT specialists…. AMERICAN instructors explained how social networks and Internet technologies can be used for targeted manipulation of public opinion as well as to activate protest potential to provoke violent unrest in the territory of Ukraine; radicalization of the population triggering infighting. American instructors presented examples of successful use of social networks used to organize protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Recent conference took place Nov 14-15, 2013, in the heart of Kiev in the Embassy of the United States of America” (US started Ukraine civil war, 30/01/2015)

        “86 Euromaidan militants… came to Poland under the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [in September 2013]…. they spent four weeks engaged in a regiment of destabilization training….. the EuroMaidan militants had prior Western-backed training [and] Poland was chosen as the location for their instruction. Through its direct involvement and support in training the radicals, Poland is quickly living up to its reputation as NATO’s most important frontline state.” (Poland’s Role in Destabilizing Ukraine: Polish Military Trained Neo-Nazi Militants for EuroMaidan Protests, Oriental Review, April 17, 2014).

        U.S./NATO regime change operations in Ukraine preceding the events of Maidan are common knowledge.

        • Veritas Vincit

          2.0 ‘The (long planned) integration of Georgia and Ukraine into the U.S./NATO bloc’
          “We stated that Ukraine, and Georgia, by the way, will become members of NATO” [NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen]. (NATO officials promised Ukraine eventual membership at a summit in 2008).

          “The Ukrainian armed forces are receiving funds, equipment and training in preparation for eventual NATO membership” (Ukraine a NATO Member in Everything but Name, 16/01/2015)

          “Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will discuss restoration of the state’s Euro-Atlantic course and [integration of] Ukraine [with] NATO”… “An agenda of the meeting includes [the] interoperability to NATO standards, reformation of defense and security sectors, defense industry and the Armed Forces of Ukraine according to NATO standards, development of interoperability of the Ukrainian army and NATO forces,” (NATO To Discuss Aid To Ukraine For “Hybrid” War With Russia, December 13, 2014)

          3.0 U.S./NATO involvement in subsequent offensive operations’
          “NATO countries are already providing Kiev with weaponry from the depots of the former Warsaw Treaty Organization… [Dr Konstantin Sivkov, Academy of Geopolitical Problems president] said… the US is pushing Kiev towards resolution of the conflict through the use of force.” (New spate of drafting to Ukrainian Armed Forces fraught with full-scale war in Europe, Itar Tass, January 16, 2015)

          “About 400 elite commandos from a notorious US private security firm, Greystone Limited, the latest renaming of the former private CIA army Blackwater/Academi, are involved in a punitive operation mounted by Ukraine’s junta government ” (400 US commandos help Kiev in its military offensive in east Ukraine – reports, 11 May, 2014)

          “In early April, CIA director John Brennan visited Kiev. The very next day after his visit, the head of the Kiev regime, Turchynov, announced the beginning of ‘large-scale antiterrorist operations in connection with events in the Southeast’. Not only American, but Polish mercenaries showed up for this operation…..” (Polish Death Squads Fighting in Ukraine. CIA Covert Operation?, Strategic Culture Foundation, May 28, 2014)

          “we found a great number of American firearms, assault rifles and hand mortars, equipment and communications devices….. we found dead bodies in NATO uniforms under the debris in the new [Donetsk airport] terminal. Personal belongings indicated that these people were foreign citizens contracted by private military companies…” (Dead bodies in NATO uniforms, US weapons recovered from under debris of Donetsk airport, Itar Tass, January 22, 2015), etc…..

          • Veritas Vincit

            4.0 ‘Security/stabilisation operations preceding the conduct of a democratic referendum in Crimea’

            “Our goal was not to take Crimea by annexing it. Our final goal was to allow the people express their wishes on how they want to live,” [Putin] said. “I decided for myself: what the people want will happen. If they want greater autonomy with some extra rights within Ukraine, so be it. If they decide otherwise, we cannot fail them. You know the results of the referendum. We did what we had to do,” Putin said… The Russian president said the move to send Russian troops to secure Crimea and allow a referendum to be freely held there prevented major bloodshed on the peninsula.” (Putin in film on Crimea: US masterminds behind Ukraine coup, helped train radicals, RT, March 15, 2015)

            “it was Washington that set the wheels in motion with an unconstitutional coup in Ukraine. Crimea joined the Russian Federation not because Russia forced it or wanted it to, but because the population of the peninsula held a referendum and by an absolute majority of votes decided they want to live in the Russian Federation, not in Ukraine. The only realistic alternative to the inclusion of Crimea into Russia was massive bloodshed on the peninsula. That’s why I say that the world community should thank us for the way we handled Crimea. People weren’t killed on a massive scale there, as opposed to what happened in Donbass. [Nikolai Patrushev]

            Any balanced analysis would reveal that the violence spreading throughout Ukraine following the U.S./NATO supported coup would have spread to Crimea had Russia not conducted security operations in the region as forces aligned with the coup installed Ukrainian regime had revealed their intention to move on Crimea. After preventing Crimea from becoming a conflict zone, Russia then facilitated the democratic will of the population through a referendum. Western narratives are based on distortions and misrepresentation of events. However those who engage in dishonest behaviour merely establish their lack of credibility.

          • Veritas Vincit

            5.0 ‘NATO announces preparations for war against the Russian Federation’

            p4. “NATO must prepare for a war with Russia” [U.S. General Breedlove in a joint article with NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen]

            “[A] report by the European Leadership Network… finds that the military exercises conducted by NATO and Russia this year have made the outbreak of war between the two sides more likely…. the report [Preparing for the Worst] warns that the rapid pace and increasing scale of military exercises along the borders between Russia and NATO member states have gone well beyond the point of signaling deterrence and become an independent factor in increasing the danger of a military conflagration. “Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia,” the report declares” (Danger mounts of US/NATO war with Russia, Patrick Martin, 13 August 2015), etc…….

            Indeed, forms of warfare between blocs (with many mechanisms being employed short of direct military conflict) are active, albeit many in preliminary stages (economic warfare/economic sabotage operations; U.S./NATO proxy warfare operations against E Ukrainian regions; support of militant/terrorist groups within the Russian Federation as revealed through intelligence reports; destabilisation/ partition/ regime change operations within Russia; mobilisation of military forces/assets/missile architecture; etc.) so far absent of direct military conflict.

            In the ongoing pursuit of global primacy, the U.S./NATO/allied bloc will logically escalate operations (and the build-up of military/missile architecture around strategic opponents as is occurring) with the desire/intention of maintaining operations short of direct conflict between opposing military blocs. However desired outcomes are often very different from probable outcomes. There are necessary responses to certain hostile actions.

            If I am correct, in time these many expanding low intensity conflicts with larger approaching situations of direct conflict between military blocs (despite efforts to prevent this outcome), will be recognised as one. In the meantime, if it makes you feel better, you are welcome to believe whatever you want. Your beliefs are irrelevant as they do not change the reality of what is occurring or likely approaching events.

      • dutchnational

        I think that in time we both will.

  • daniel

    dutchnational & jaro you are not serious right!? Russias “agression”? Crimea is and always has been Russian territory that was illegally ceded to Ukraine by Krusehv. Russia just reclaimed its own right otherwise would have been used as a NATO base against Russia itself (just like Holland -your country?) The only propaganda that I read is the MSM and this is controlled by the US/NATO there is no Russian propaganda, “jaro” which planet do you live?

    • Cannibal-ante-portas

      Jaro is from a little planet called Ukraina

      • jaro

        And how did you get to this idea? I’m not Ukrainian and haven’t ever been to Ukraine. Do you really think only Ukrainians have bad opinion on Russia? :D

        • Nexusfast123

          Only the ill informed.

    • jaro

      Define “always”. Crimea was in possession of Golden Horde and then Crimean Khanate for few hundred years. Where did they teach you yo lie like this? KGB?

  • Random guy

    Surely it is not an encirclement, or a significant size to pose a threat. However it is also wrong to claim otherwise. Nato countries’ military budget is 900bln USD, Russia is 52bln. Unless you think that Nato is wasting money and Russia is the most efficient military spender, there is no threat from Russia to Nato.

    • Nexusfast123

      Awful lot of pork and waste in those NATO figures. Many tens of billions are used to support non combat infrastructure and bueacracy. The Russians and Chinese spend within their economies and very little on overseas bases.