WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in “liberating” an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the “Draco” militia. “Draco” is the Latin term for “dragon” – a symbol for China.
Germany has started to pour concrete on a Russian gas pipeline that risks dividing the EU and harming its energy security.
The construction began in Lubmin, on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, on Thursday (3 May), with the laying of foundations for a terminal that will receive 55bn cubic metres (bcm) a year of Russian gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline when it goes online in 2020. Continue reading
BERLIN/BRUSSELS/STOCKHOLM(Own report) – Officially neutral Sweden can be considered a “de facto member” of NATO, a Swedish foreign policy expert confirmed in a new German foreign policy periodical. Last fall’s large maneuver in Sweden sent a clear “message” that the country’s neutrality has “de facto been suspended,” completely changing the entire military “map” of the Baltic region “to NATO’s advantage.” In fact, back already in the 1990s, Sweden had begun to build links to the western war alliance; crucial decisions had been taken already before the Ukraine conflict’s escalation and Crimea’s integration into the Russian Federation. The Bundeswehr is heavily involved in integrating the Swedish armed forces into NATO’s structures, focusing on naval cooperation. This cooperation is aiming at including the Swedish military into NATO’s naval operations. The cooperation of the naval forces is not limited to NATO’s framework, but may also be within that of the EU.
Lithuania on Monday accused Russia of deploying nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to its Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic, as relations between Moscow and the West sink to post-Cold War lows.
Russia has previously sent Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad for drills, but Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that this time they were being deployed for a “permanent presence”. Continue reading
The terrifying Russian war drills were carried out in September and featured ground, sea and air forces as well as artillery and missile launches.
RUSSIA has practised a full-scale mock invasion of the West that includes capturing Baltic states, bombing Germany and invading neutral countries, it has been revealed.
The terrifying war drills were carried out in September and featured troops, artillery, tanks, missile attacks and naval and air force raids. Continue reading
The exercises are part of President Vladimir Putin’s effort to demonstrate Russia’s full recovery from being a military basket case following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia’s Northern Fleet claimed to have sent about 50 ships, submarines and support vessels into the Barents and Baltic Seas in August on a series of anti-submarine, anti-mine and search-and-rescue operations, a Russian Navy spokesman told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
German energy company Wintershall, a European partner with Russia’s Gazprom, said the European energy sector can’t be used for “geopolitical football.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill into law that sanctions Iran, North Korea and Russia. The Russian measure in particular is significant given the election issue clouding the Trump administration. Continue reading
Russian helicopters on Wednesday staged explosive exercises, destroying maritime targets in the already tense Baltic region, where the U.S. began its own multinational war games just one day earlier.
The Russian military deployed 10 Kamov KA-27 antisubmarine warfare helicopters from the naval aviation branch of its Baltic Fleet to participate in bombing a simulated hostile submarine off the coast of Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russian territory situated between Lithuania and Poland. Both of these countries, along with the Baltic states Latvia and Estonia, are part of the U.S.-led military alliance NATO, which on Tuesday launched a regional exercise called Tobruq Legacy 2017, involving multiple European allies of the U.S. As the rivalry between Russia and NATO heats up, both displayed the readiness and might of their respective armed forces. Continue reading
A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.
In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area. Continue reading
Germany and Austria have lashed out against US Senate for approving a legislation tightening sanctions on Russia. The bill has a provision that enables the United States to impose sanctions on European firms involved in financing Russian energy export pipelines to Europe. European companies could be fined for breaching US law. In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern accused the US of threatening European economic interests, describing it as an illegal attempt to boost US gas exports. The United States recently started shipping liquefied natural gas to Poland and has ambitions to cultivate other European customers.
The bill says the US government «should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy». But the European foreign chiefs believe that «Europe’s energy supply is Europe’s business, not that of the United States of America». Gabriel and Kern said they «can’t accept» proposed US sanctions targeting European energy companies as part of measures against Russia.
Latvia spotted three Russian corvette ships 4 miles from its territorial waters on Sunday.
According to the military’s Twitter page it spotted the vessels Liven 551, Serpukhov 603 and Morshansk 824 near Latvian waters.
The sighting followed reports that Russia was readying vessels for the approach of a U.S. vessel. Local newspaper Fontanka said that Morshansk and a handful of other vessels were lined up around St. Petersburg’s Kronshtadt port—the location of Russia’s Leningrad naval base. Continue reading
The Russian air force has not shown any good faith toward NATO aircraft policing Baltic airspace in recent months by conducting a flurry of unsafe maneuvers and flybys, the top civilian leader of the Air Force said Monday.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the German air force, which oversees the mission, reported “more than 30 scrambles between the end of August and the start of November this year, intercepting Russian aircraft flying near civilian air routes with their transponders turned off.” Continue reading
Faced with a newly aggressive Russia, Sweden is taking mothballed Cold War missile launchers out of storage in museums to shore up the defenses on its Baltic Sea front line, according to The Times. Continue reading
Much is being done to counter Russian ambitions in the High North, and yet much more remains to be done.
The recent stream of senior U.S. defense officials to Nordic countries underlines American concerns about potential friction in northern Europe, and Washington’s efforts to boost defense and deterrence there. Defense Secretary Ash Carter stopped in Norway in early September, while his deputy Bob Work, who has been to the region three times over the last two years, paid an early-October visit to Finland’s capital, Helsinki. Shortly thereafter, Air Force Secretary Deborah James made her own trip across the region. (Go back to last year, and Senate Armed Services Committee chair John McCain was in Norway and Sweden to discuss regional security.)