The Baltic States Never Stop Their War Preparations Against Russia

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Written by Peter Korzun; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

The hue and cry over the possibility of a Russian attack on the Baltic states has grown all out of proportion. NATO is using its “Russian boogeyman” campaign to boost its military presence in the region. With Moscow accused of harboring evil plans, a robust military infrastructure is emerging in the immediate proximity of Russia’s borders. The US footprint is huge. Whatever Russia does (such as deploying its forces or conducting military exercises), it is presented by the Western media as a demonstration of hostile intent, while NATO’s highly provocative behavior is kept out of the spotlight. Any nation would be concerned over war preparations on its doorstep that are being conducted by an unfriendly alliance. Anyone who is impartial would confirm that Moscow’s concern is more than justified.

The Baltic States Never Stop Their War Preparations Against Russia

The US Defense Department’s 2019 fiscal budget became law on Aug. 13. It allocates $6.5 billion for the European Defense Initiative (EDI), $2 billion more than the previous fiscal budget, and nearly double the $3.4 billion the military received in fiscal 2017. The increase is evidence of the focus on building up a robust military force to threaten Russia. Infrastructure improvements in the Baltic states and Poland are a high priority.

According to the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, the updates to the Lithuanian armed forces’ Kazlų Rūda training ground, in the district of Marijampolė, to get it up to NATO standards, are almost complete. The facility will be used to train air crews and controllers. This is a joint project with the United States, funded through the European Reassurance Initiative. American B-52 strategic bombers have already dropped dummy munitions there. The firing range was part of the NATO Saber Strike exercise that was held in June. US National Guard soldiers are there to prepare Kazlų Rūda for another exercise.

The training ground is less than 60 km. from the Russian border. This is a risky move. On Aug. 7, a Spanish warplane accidentally fired an air-to-air missile over Estonia in the Pangodi area of Estonia’s Tartu county, less than 50 miles from that country’s eastern border with Russia. Suppose it had been an air-to-surface missile that went astray and landed on Russian territory? Why should NATO’s training events be conducted so dangerously close, making the alliance responsible for such perilous possibilities?

In July, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry signed a contract with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) in regard to infrastructure development projects that will significantly improve the training conditions. Thirteen facilities are to be completed for the Lithuanian armed forces by 2021. According to Vice Minister of National Defense Giedrimas Jeglinskas, the scale of the NATO deployments necessitates a larger military infrastructure to accommodate those forces. Once the upgrade is completed, Kazlų Rūda will be the only military facility in the country able to host and provide logistics for a brigade-size force including hardware. The modernization program also applies to the Gen Silvestras Žukauskas training ground — a joint project funded through Lithuania’s military budget, the NATO Security Investment Program, and the US European Reassurance Initiative. The NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP) is also financing the construction of facilities to accommodate the NATO Air Policing Mission, Host Nation Support, military training grounds, and, in part, the NATO Force Integration Unit.

Estonia’s Amari air force base near Russia’s border is another facility that is being updated to support American A-10, F-15, F-16, F-22, and F-35 aircraft, which will include refueling infrastructure as well as special ops forces.

The Baltic states signed Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs), allowing the presence of American forces within their borders as far back as early 2017.

In May, the foreign ministers of the Baltic states paid a group visit to Washington to ask for a larger US military presence in their countries. Back then, they said the current build-up would only be the starting point for a larger effort. So far NATO has deployed four battalion-sized battle groups (roughly 4,500 troops) to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. In June, all three Baltic states came out in support of the idea of building a permanent US military base in Poland.

Added to this is the ongoing militarization of the Scandinavian peninsula that goes largely unnoticed. And the rearming of Poland. And NATO’s build-up of logistics infrastructure in Eastern and Northern Europe. And the formation of a military alliance between the US and two northern European states: Sweden and Finland. And the US Air Force presence that has expanded in Eastern Europe. Don’t forget the tensions in the Black Sea near Russia’s shores. Russia is being confronted by 29 NATO member states.

Given all this, can anyone claim that Moscow’s concerns are unjustified? NATO talking about how Russia is threatening the Baltic states (or whoever) is like the pot calling the kettle black. The media should be paying more attention to the alliance’s war preparations so that readers could form a rational opinion about who is really threatening who and whose behavior is provocative.

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  • as

    Because it provided their sellouts politician with money. Otherwise there’s no corruption to be justified in their defense budget.

  • BPGSJLBDLSE

    Small dog syndrome. The Baltics are small ankle-biters who make as much noise as possible to make themselves seem more significant.

  • Tudor Miron

    Baltic “tigers” Lol. They benefited greatly from joining EU – deindustrialisation, depopulation and what happens when their only export (Russofobia) is not needed?

    • occupybacon

      Depopulation, really, why do moskals care so much of the well being of their neighbors?

      • Tudor Miron

        You can’t comprehend it zio troll.

        • occupybacon

          Things are more simple that you like to believe. You hate your neighbors and you pretend you care of them because you think they are stupid.

          • Tudor Miron

            Stop accusing others of your own crimes, Ziotroll.

          • occupybacon

            Guess what, unlike the Ivans, we, the lizards are not that hypocrite to pretend we cry for the others, how harmful the western Imperialism is for them, what NATO did to them, how Capitalism destroyed them… because we don’t think others are that stupid to not get it.

          • Tudor Miron

            You can say that black is whight but you’ll stuggle finding one to believe in it.

      • Boris Kazlov

        I am a proud moskali, and I can tell you moskalis don’t give a flying fuck about sardinestan, well-being or otherwise.

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    Baltic countries people think that NATO will protect them…poor naives….we know who are Baltic country citizens…a bunch of NAZIS ( which were defeated by Russia in WW2) +cheap labour in EU+ opportunist cowards like polish….it seems as if they hadnt seen what happen in 2015 when Russia and Turkey were close to ignitate a war….then NATO told that the alliance would never intervene because there was no invasion….so it is to say that Russia can begin to destroy( from Russia land) all infraestructure there with cruise missile, heavy artillery, air to ground missile, ballistic missile..and so on…while NATO jets and troops just look and impose economic sanctions…nothing else!…

  • James

    What Baltic? Funny little countries syndromes, I think the minute they hear the tanks rolling at the eastern front, they will be running west as fast as they could!

  • chris chuba

    Is that 4,500 for each country? That would be over 20,000 troops.

  • Ralfaway

    Instead of looking for alliances beyond the Atlantic, the Baltic melting pot should establish partnerships within the region.

  • Carol Davidek-Waller

    The US presence is nothing compared to Russia, fully prepared and on home ground. The Baltic States are foolish for allowing themselves to become involved in something that will result in their own destruction if war ever does occur.