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.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving on Tuesday for Finland for a two-day official visit to discuss the security situation in the region, nuclear safety and topical EU issues with the country's leaders.
Lithuania and Latvia have much in common on a strategic level. Yet relations between the two aren’t especially brotherly. That’s how political expert Linas Kojala put it on LRT.lt. In his opinion it is difficult to pin down a special closeness between the two countries with actual examples. Vytautas Magnus University Professor Alvydas Butkus notes that representatives of the two countries’ governments would seemingly like to communicate but there aren’t close ties between the two societies.
According to a government source known to ERR’s Estonian news portal, the Russian Baltic Fleet is moving an Iskander-M missile system from Ust-Luga to Kaliningrad on a civilian vessel, ERR News reported.
Estonian Foreign Minister Jurgen Ligi believes that the Baltic countries will soon to finalize the signing of an agreement on a procurement model for the 5-billion-euro European standard-gauge railway project Rail Baltica.