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.
Lithuania and the other states of the Baltic Sea region should sign a memorandum of understanding in June on synchronization of the Baltic states with continental Europe via Poland. The document should give an impetus to the preparations for synchronized work of the networks.
Latvian Deputy Prime Minister and Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens is to meet with the Lithuanian energy and economy ministers to discuss the countries' key energy projects and efforts to restrict imports from the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus, and to visit the Klaipėda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.
There is a consensus among member countries of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) that the Baltic power grids have to be synchronized with the Western European system via Poland, but details, such as the need for a second LitPol Link, remain to be worked out.
Border guards of Kalvarija, southwestern Lithuania, have detained a Latvian citizen transporting to Western Europe a Syrian father and son who had applied for asylum in Latvia. The driver faces criminal charges, while the Syrian citizens will be sent back to Latvia.
Lithuania's State Security Department (VSD) has warned that Russia's protectionist policies and aims to restrict cargo flows harm Lithuania's transport business and energy and, furthermore, can divide the three Baltic states.