Russia’s military games for Baltic and Polish civilians and youth
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
With the Russian 9th of May celebrations of Soviet victory in World War Two approaching, many in the Baltic States are concerned about the potential risk of provocations or confrontation stemming from the more radical and disgruntled elements of the local Russian minority. Moreover, since Russia launched a shadow war in eastern Ukraine in 2014, NATO, American, and European governments have been increasingly concerned about the risks of hybrid warfare in Poland and the Baltic region.
It would be hard to imagine Athenian generals worrying about the reporting of Spartan news or even, twenty-four centuries later, Douglas MacArthur caring much about media broadcasts from the land of the rising sun. But when General Philip Breedlove, the Supreme Commander of NATO, recently called on the West to make a greater effort to counter Russia’s toxic war of disinformation against Ukraine and its western allies, his concern made perfect military sense. In a world in which the dissemination of information is a key tactical element in violent conflicts, the West and America have remained far too passive in confronting both the insidious campaign of lies on Russian state-controlled media and the notoriously effective internet recruitment efforts of terrorist groups.
Russia’s euphoric and triumphalist celebration all this week, marking the one year anniversary of Moscow's annexation of Crimea, has already drawn crowds of people, national flags in abundance, and veterans marching in various cities. Meanwhile, Russia-backed militants continue their attacks in eastern Ukraine testing the fragile truce between Kiev and the separatist forces. A year later since Moscow’s foray into Crimea, there is little evidence of Russia is willing to back down or back out of its aggressive campaign in Ukraine. What often gets blurred in Moscow’s nationalist rhetoric is that fact that Russia’s economic and military interests in Ukraine run deep, making Russia’s pull out from Ukraine unlikely in the medium to long-term.
Amid the discussions in Lithuania on ways to halt the construction of the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) in Belarus, Lithuania's Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas is addressing the issue in Latvia on Wednesday.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that economic reasons could be behind Latvia's apparent reluctance to take a tougher stance toward the Astravyets nuclear power plant that Belarus is building close to its border with Lithuania.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia agreed on Wednesday to facilitate the movement of allied forces in the region as NATO's multinational battalions are being deployed to the Baltic countries, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said.
Tense geopolitical situation in the European Union over Brexit, refugee crisis and security matters may after 2020 reduce the European support to the European-gauge railway project Rail Baltica estimated at billions of euros, Baiba Rubesa, board chairperson of the joint Baltic enterprise, has said in Vilnius.
After signing the agreement on development of the European-gauge Rail Baltica railway in Tallinn on Tuesday, prime ministers of the three Baltic states do not fear that the European Union (EU) may slash support to the project after 2020.