On July 15, the Russian daily Vedomosti published an article by a Russian military expert, Ruslan Pukhov, about Russian military planning objectives. In his article, Pukhov explains that the concern exhibited by NATO members about the Baltic States’ security is misplaced, as Russia did not take any significant measure to bolster its military presence in the Kaliningrad region bordering on the Baltics. On the contrary, Russian forces were radically reduced in the area.
Pukhov stressed that Russia avoids being drawn into a direct military rivalry with the West, but concentrates its forces around its main and fundamental security issue: Ukraine. Pukhov wrote that Russia is creating three strong army groups on its border with Ukraine, which are capable, if necessary, of launching a quick strike in the direction of Kiev. Therefore, Pukhov explained, current Russian military planning is divorced from any ‘threat from NATO’ or ‘threat to NATO’, but is geared towards creating a powerful force on the Ukrainian border, “which will allow the Kremlin to expand the range of possible [military] force options to the Ukrainian situation.” Continue reading