Russia’s Military Exercises Fuel Fears of Continued Aggression

Introduction — August 31, 2016

The following article omits some critical facts that make it seem like Russia is spoiling for a fight. It’s not. Russia is simply responding to NATO activity near its Western borders.
The steady encroachment of NATO and western forces eastwards, in some cases within sight of Russia’s border, and the establishment of military bases in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania and the deepening NATO ties with the former Soviet Republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have made Russia step-up preparations for a worst case scenario.
If Russia or China were to establish military bases near the border in Canada or Mexico the U.S. would undoubtedly do the same.
Although the article does mention Ukraine it omits to mention that the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine, with its historic ties with Russia, is in the process of becoming effectively a Western vassal state.
To give some idea of what this means for Russia: imagine if Texas were to secede from the United States and pledge allegiance with Russia or China. Americans would be understandably vexed and threatened too. Well Russia feels the same.
It doesn’t necessarily mean war but Russia’s military is preparing for the worst — as any military would. Ed.
Russian troops on 'exercises' near the border with Ukraine in 2014.

Russian troops on ‘exercises’ near the border with Ukraine in 2014.

Russia’s Military Exercises Fuel Fears of Continued Aggression

Nolan Peterson — The Daily Signal August 30, 2016

As the late summer weather begins to cool, Russian military exercises have kept the tensions hot in Ukraine and across Eastern Europe.

Periodic flare-ups in the ongoing war in Ukraine’s embattled Donbas region this summer have renewed fears of a full-on Russian invasion and spurred an unprecedented post-Cold War redeployment of NATO military forces toward the alliance’s eastern flank to deter further Russian aggression in the region.

The latest headache for Kyiv and NATO: Russian military exercises scheduled for Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region in September in addition to Russian snap military exercises launched Aug. 25 in military districts near Ukraine and the Baltic countries.

“If there is an interest in Moscow in stability and predictability, then these exercises are not the way to go,” NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said Monday.

Russia has staged about a dozen snap military exercises in the past two years, while NATO member countries have not held any since the end of the Cold War, according to news reports.

In September, Russia has plans for a large-scale strategic military exercise called Kavkaz-2016. The exercise, which is an annual event, will include units deployed near the borders of Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan—including two Russian military districts in the Southern and Northern Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet (headquartered in occupied Crimea), and the Caspian Flotilla.

It is not immediately clear the exact size of this year’s exercise, but last year it comprised 95,000 troops, 7,000 vehicles, and 150 aircraft, according to a report by IHS Markit, a U.K.-based intelligence and analysis firm.

“It is important to assess our capabilities for protecting national interests in the southwestern strategic direction amid the uneasy international military and political situation,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in January while commenting on plans for Kavkaz-2016, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Some military experts say the combination of snap military drills with the planned Kavkaz-2016 exercise have the hallmarks of Russian military maneuvers that served as smoke screens for the invasion of Georgia in 2008 and the hybrid warfare invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Yet, others argue Russia’s strategic military objectives have more to do with diplomatic leverage than military outcomes.

Continues …

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