Latvia Spots Three Russian Warships off Sea Border

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

Russia ‘to revive the KGB’ after Putin wins biggest majority

Russia plans effectively to revive the KGB under a massive shake-up of its security forces, a respected business daily has reported.

A State Security Ministry, or MGB, would be created from the current Federal Security Service (FSB) , and would incorporate the foreign intelligence service (SVR) and the state guard service (FSO), under the plans. It would be handed all-encompassing powers once possessed by the KGB, the Kommersant newspaper said, citing security service sources.

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Kaliningrad

The Russians have poured over 10,000 troops, an air and missile defense system, and various warships into Kaliningrad as well perhaps as short-range nuclear-capable missiles. It’s all part of an overall Russian military buildup in recent years that, combined with NATO downsizing, gives Russia conventional military superiority in the Baltic. Whether Russia’s aim is strictly defensive, an aggressive move against the three former Soviet Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), an attempt to humiliate and weaken NATO or some combination of the above is for the West a matter of debate—and of worry. How not, after Russian moves in Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria? Military historians, however, might focus on the ironies. Continue reading

US: Russia Building ‘Arc Of Steel’ From Arctic To Med

WASHINGTON — A resurgent Russia is creating an “arc of steel” meant to challenge and confront NATO, a top US naval officer warned Tuesday.

“We are observing the manifestation of a more aggressive, more capable Russian Navy,” Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of US Naval Forces Europe and commander of the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, said in Washington. “It is naval capability focused directly on addressing the perceived advantages of NATO navies. And they are signaling us and warning us that the maritime domain is contested.”

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Russian Air Force Readies for Massive Drills

From the Soviet state-run (KGB/FSB) propaganda outlet, RIA Novosti:

MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) – More than 70 aircraft and some 1,000 troops will be deployed in a series of tactical drills in preparation for a large-scale exercise next week in northwest Russia, military officials said on Tuesday.

Preparations for the exercise, codenamed Ladoga-2013, have begun in the Republic of Karelia, and the Leningrad, Smolensk and Tver regions with tactical drills by fighters, bombers and army aviation. Continue reading