Riparians on the Baltic Sea are worried about Moscow’s activities off their coast. But Putin says Nato is the aggressor.
Putin has had enough: He does not want to see any more new members in NATO Photo: ap
Igor Korochenko, editor-in-chief of Russia’s National Defense magazine, says it is impossible that Nato and Russia could "agree on something serious" in the near future and warns against illusions. NATO wants to swallow Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and last but not least, Caucasian Azerbaijan, the military expert believes. "Strategically, NATO is our enemy."
President Vladimir Putin is currently formulating the conflict less sharply. He just gave his placet to a joint meeting of the Russia-Nato Council on July 13 in Brussels.
Putin, who is also commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces, ordered his negotiators to clarify the issue of transponder deployment at the council meeting. Over the Baltic Sea, reconnaissance flights with the detection system turned off often resulted in near-collisions. If the Kremlin leader is to be believed, NATO aircraft switch off the radar more often than Russian jets.
In turn, the Baltic Sea littoral states are concerned about Russia’s activities off their coasts. Sweden and Finland are once again approaching the question of joining NATO. The Kremlin chief did not hesitate and last week immediately threatened the Finns with countermeasures should Helsinki seek proximity to the alliance.
Short-range missiles to Kaliningrad
This includes the announcement that it will move Iskander short-range missiles to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in response to NATO activities in Eastern Europe. Russia has been threatening to do so for years. The missiles can be armed with nuclear warheads and can travel 500 kilometers. Only recently, the new Iskander-M was introduced. It has the advantage that U.S. missile defense shields, such as those in Romania and Poland, cannot intercept these projectiles.
The deployment of 4,000 troops to the Baltics and Poland is being portrayed in Russia as an act of aggression. The Foreign Ministry called it "a very dangerous reinforcement of military power quite close to our borders." The four battalions are to rotate so as not to violate the NATO-Russia Founding Act. Moscow already announced in January that it would increase troops in the south and on the western border. In the Western Military District, they are to be reinforced by more than 10,000 professional soldiers. The armada of 700 tanks in the region is also awaiting additions.