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  • Russia Could Overrun The Baltic States In THREE DAYS: US War Planners Say

    Russia Could Overrun The Baltic States In THREE DAYS: US War Planners Say NATO Has Been Caught Napping And Would Be Hopelessly Outgunned

    February 3, 2016

    Russia could overrun Eastern Europe in just three days because NATO has not been bolstering its fleet since Vladimir Putin took Crimea, according to US military predictions.

    Testing every possible scenario in a series of war games, a US military think tank has concluded it would take a resurgent Russia between 36 and 60 hours to push its 27 heavily-armored battalions past NATO's lightweight 12 to occupy the Baltic States.

    Most likely, the study found, Russia would start by launching a two-pronged attack across the Latvian border, sending heavily-armed battalions in from the north and the south.

    These battalions would push past the light-weight Latvian and NATO battalions before uniting to take the capital of Riga.

    Once secured, the remaining part of Russia's 27 maneuver battalions would cross the Narva reservoir into Estonia to take the ethnic Russian north-east before heading to Tallinn, the capital.

    NATO's only hope would be to concentrate its forces in Tallinn and Riga while stationing some delays along the main routes. But eventually, the West 'would have to launched a belated nuclear attack'.

    'The outcome was, bluntly, a disaster for NATO,' the report concludes.

    This is a map of how a US military think tank believes Russia could overrun NATO to take the Baltic States in just 36-60 hours. Even with a week's notice, NATO's 12-strong fleet would be no match against Putin's 27

    The report warns, NATO's ground forces are no match for Russia's. They do not have any battle tanks; all of Russia's do. And NATO would have little room for maneuver, annexed in by Russian forces in Kalingrad Oblast.

    In the scenario given by the study, NATO would have one week's notice to defend Eastern Europe.

    The study, carried out between 2014 and 2015, suggested even a combination of US and Baltic troops combined with US airstrikes would not be able to prevent Russia advancing.

    Seven of NATO's 12 battalions in Eastern Europe are domestic fleets of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They only have one heavy armored fleet, a single Stryker battalion, and no main battle tanks, the report explains.

    Though NATO's air power could put up a strong defense, it would be futile as its lightweight ground forces would be plowed down by Russia's.

    'The games' findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,' the report said.

    'Such a rapid defeat would leave NATO with a limited number of options, all bad.'

    The study claims that 'avoiding such a swift and catastrophic failure does not appear to require a Herculean effort' - but it would be expensive.

    Airpower and artillery backed up with around seven brigades - three of them heavily armored - in the Baltic area would be enough to 'prevent the rapid overrun of the Baltic states'.

    But this would cost around $2.7 billion a year.

    'Crafting this deterrent posture would not be inexpensive in absolute terms, with annual costs perhaps running on the order of $2.7 billion,' the authors write.

    'That is not a small number, but seen in the context of an Alliance with an aggregate gross domestic product in excess of $35 trillion and combined yearly defense spending of more than $1 trillion, it hardly appears unaffordable.'

    The report emerged a day after the Obama administration said it will propose quadrupling what it spends on its troops and training in Europe, as part of the U.S. military's accelerating effort to deter Russia.

    President Barack Obama, in his final budget request to Congress, will ask for $3.4billion — up from $789million for the current budget year — for what the Pentagon calls its European Reassurance Initiative, which was announced in 2014 in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine.

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter, giving an overview of the administration's proposed 2017 defense budget of $582.7billion, described Russia as a growing challenge for the United States. He said the U.S. was taking a 'strong and balanced approach' to deterring its former Cold War foe.

    'We haven't had to worry about this for 25 years, and while I wish it were otherwise, now we do,' Carter said in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington.

    Obama, warning that Russia had taken an 'aggressive posture' near NATO countries, called it a 'challenging and important time' for the alliance, whose members in Europe are increasingly concerned about Russia's intentions after its incursions in Ukraine.

    He said the U.S. had taken decisive steps to bolster NATO since the start of Russia's actions in Ukraine, but that it hadn't been enough.

    'It is clear that the United States and our allies must do more to advance our common defense in support of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace,' Obama said.

    NATO's top civilian official, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, issued a statement applauding Carter's proposed increase in spending in Europe.

    'This is a clear sign of the enduring commitment by the United States to European security,' he said. 'It will be a timely and significant contribution to NATO's deterrence, and collective defense.'

    Michal Baranowski, head of the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank, said the increased spending was a positive development and would be a 'key ingredient' for success at a NATO summit to be attended by allied heads of government in July in the Polish capital.

    'I think it's great news for Poland, the region and NATO as a whole — the extra investment will make NATO's flank safer by more effectively deterring Russia. It's also an important sign of U.S. leadership that is badly needed at NATO,' Baranowski said in an interview.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Russia Could Overrun The Baltic States In THREE DAYS: US War Planners Say started by Ryan Ruck View original post
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Cold War stuff....

      This isn't news or new. They've always been able to do this.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russia moving nuclear-capable missiles into Kaliningrad, says Estonia

      Kaliningrad. The movement of the missiles would be seen by the west as a sign of Russia seeking to establish facts on the ground before a new US president takes office in January.

      Sergei Grits/APPatrick WintourDiplomatic editor

      Friday 7 October 201611.40 EDTLast modified on Friday 7 October 201613.49 EDT
      Estonian officials have said that Russia appears to be moving powerful, nuclear capable missiles into Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost province sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic coast.

      The Iskander-M missiles, which have a range of over 500km, are reportedly being transported by ship from the St Petersburg area. It had previously been reported that the Russians might seek to place the Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad but not until 2018-19.

      If confirmed, the move would be seen by western governments as another sign that Russia is seeking to establish facts on the ground, from eastern Europe to the Middle East, before a new US president takes office in January.

      Estonian officials said they were monitoring the ship and its contents. The ship, called the Ambal, was due to dock on Friday; reports of the cargo came from Estonian government sources.

      An Estonian defence expert said: “This weapon is highly sophisticated and there is no comparable weapon in western armoury. It can carry nuclear weapons, change direction mid-flight and fly distances of up to 500km. As such it is capable of threatening Poland, including the US missile defence installations there. You would not change the date of the delivery of a system such as this on a whim. The intention is to make a strong strategic point.” The Russians already have a missile brigade on Kaliningrad, but the OTR-21 Tochka short-range missile is less sophisticated, and not capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

      The Iskander-M, the Persian name for Alexander the Great, is a ballistic rocket system designed to destroy strategic targets, and its stationing is arguably in breach of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty.

      Marko Mihkelson, the chairman of the Estonian parliament’s national defence committee, told Estonian news agency ERR on Friday that since the transportation of the system was now taking place with the help of a civilian vessel, he had reason to think that Russia was trying to take the missiles to Kaliningrad in secret.

      Mihkelson added that what was going on was part of a broader security situation, and that it was Russia’s intent to provoke western governments and increase pressure on them. On Monday Russia cancelled its weapon-grade plutonium disposal agreement with the US.

      “In any case, what is called for now is to remain calm, and to treat these incidents as attempted blackmail,” Mihkelson said. “Russia is simply showing its desire to reinforce its position at the entrance to the Baltic Sea.”

      The chief of staff of the Estonian defence forces, Lt Gen Riho Terras, said Russia’s recent actions show the country’s wish to expand its control of the Baltic Sea.

      “In the long term Russia’s wish is to bring the Baltic Sea and the passages leading to it more and more under its control, and to control it much like it does the Black Sea,” Terras said to ERR on Friday.

      The Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas said: “References to Iskander missile system being transported by the Baltic Sea to Kaliningrad are certainly alarming and show yet again Russia’s attempts to pressure the west by using different tools.

      “This week alone Russia announced that it unilaterally suspended the plutonium disposal agreement, with demands such as the removal of all economic sanctions and compensation for the damage they have caused.

      “Russia’s continuous aggressive actions only reaffirm the necessity for Nato’s increased military presence in the Baltic States and Poland.
      “I can assure you that Estonia is closely following the developments in the Baltic Sea region.”

      On Thursday, a Russian military An-72 aircraft penetrated Estonian airspace over the island of Vaindloo without permission and spent about minute and a half in the country’s airspace.

      The aircraft transponder was switched on, but no flight plan was submitted and the aircraft did not respond to radio contact with the Estonian air movement service.

      The Estonian foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Russian ambassador to Estonia to hand him a protest note.

      Finland said two similar planes had passed over its territory as it prepared to sign a defence pact with the US.

    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      Spooked by Russia, Tiny Estonia Trains a Nation of Insurgents

      October 31, 2016

      Members of the Estonian Defense League set off for a patrol competition near the town of Turi in central Estonia. The events, held nearly every weekend, are called war games, but they are not intended to be fun.

      Her face puffy from lack of sleep, Vivika Barnabas peered down at the springs, rods and other parts of a disassembled assault rifle spread before her.

      At last, midway through one of this country’s peculiar, grueling events known as patrol competitions, she had come upon an easy task.

      Already, she and her three teammates had put out a fire, ridden a horse, identified medicinal herbs from the forest and played hide-and-seek with gun-wielding “enemies” in the woods at night.

      By comparison, this would be easy. She knelt in the crinkling, frost-covered grass of a forest clearing and grabbed at the rifle parts in a flurry of clicks and snaps, soon handing the assembled weapon to a referee.

      A team loaded and removed cartridges from rifle magazines in a timed test.

      “We just have to stay alive,” Ms. Barnabas said of the main idea behind the Jarva District Patrol Competition, a 24-hour test of the skills useful for partisans, or insurgents, to fight an occupying army, and an improbably popular form of what is called “military sport” in Estonia.

      The competitions, held nearly every weekend, are called war games, but are not intended as fun. The Estonian Defense League, which organizes the events, requires its 25,400 volunteers to turn out occasionally for weekend training sessions that have taken on a serious hue since Russia’s incursions in Ukraine two years ago raised fears of a similar thrust by Moscow into the Baltic States.

      Estonia, a NATO member with a population of 1.3 million people and a standing army of about 6,000, would not stand a chance in a conventional war with Russia. But two armies fighting on an open field is not Estonia’s plan, and was not even before Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, said European members of NATO should not count on American support unless they pay more alliance costs.

      Since the Ukraine war, Estonia has stepped up training for members of the Estonian Defense League, teaching them how to become insurgents, right down to the making of improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s, the weapons that plagued the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another response to tensions with Russia is the expansion of a program encouraging Estonians to keep firearms in their homes.

      The Jarva competition entailed a 25-mile hike and 21 specific tasks, such as answering questions of local trivia — to sort friend from foe — hiding in a bivouac deep in the woods and correctly identifying types of Russian armored vehicles. On a recent weekend, 16 teams of four people had turned out, despite the bitter, late fall chill. The competition was open to men, women and teenagers.

      Ms. Barnabas and her three teammates had spent the night hiding in a nest lined with pine needles and leaves on the forest floor, while men playing the occupying army stomped around, firing guns in the air and searching for them. Contestants who are found must hand over one of the 12 “life cards” they carry, which detracts from their final score.

      “It’s cold and you lie on the ground, looking up at the stars and hearing shooting and footsteps nearby,” said Ms. Barnabas, a petite woman who is also a coordinator for the league in her day job. She was swathed in a few layers of long underwear and camouflage.

      “It wasn’t so bad because we slept cuddled together,” she said, flirtatiously, of her female team. The footsteps came and went, and the women stayed quiet. “They didn’t find us.”

      A team demonstrated its first-aid skills during the competition. Members bring their rifles and rucksacks packed with camping comfort foods like salami, Snickers bars and Gatorade, as well as first-aid kits.

      Encouraging citizens to stash warm clothes, canned goods, boots and a rifle may seem a cartoonish defense strategy against a military colossus like Russia. Yet the Estonians say they need look no further than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to see the effectiveness today, as ever, of an insurgency to even the odds against a powerful army.

      Estonia is hardly alone in striking upon the idea of dispersing guns among the populace to advertise the potential for widespread resistance, as a deterrent.

      Of the top four nations in the world for private gun ownership — the United States, Yemen, Switzerland and Finland — the No. 3 and 4 spots belong to small nations with a minutemen-style civilian call-up as a defense strategy or with a history of partisan war.

      “The best deterrent is not only armed soldiers, but armed citizens, too,” Brig. Gen. Meelis Kiili, the commander of the Estonian Defense League, said in an interview in Tallinn, the capital.

      A team of military cadets won the competition.

      The number of firearms, mostly Swedish-made AK-4 automatic rifles, that Estonia has dispersed among its populace is classified. But the league said it had stepped up the pace of the program since the Ukraine crisis began. Under the program, members must hide the weapons and ammunition, perhaps in a safe built into a wall or buried in the backyard.

      For the competitions, members bring their rifles and rucksacks packed with camping comfort foods like salami, Snickers bars and Gatorade, as well as first-aid kits.

      But why bother with the stocking caps, the hidden ammunition and the rucksacks if, under Article 5 of the NATO charter, the United States is obliged to send the full might of its military hurtling into Estonia in an attack?

      The Estonian government says that ignores Article 3, which stipulates that each member should also prepare for individual defense. But skeptics cite another reason: fears that the United States and Europe might not have the stomach for a confrontation with Russia, even though they are currently building up their military presence in the Baltics. That would leave Estonia to fend for itself.

      A member of the team that placed second sank to the ground to recuperate after crossing the finish line.

      Whatever the reason, training for underground warfare is going ahead here, where partisans are still glorified for fighting the Nazis and Soviets in World War II.

      “The guerrilla activity should start on occupied territory straight after the invasion,” General Kiili said. “If you want to defend your country, we train you and provide conditions to do it in the best possible way.”

      Members of the community also take part in the drills.

      The competition to identify edible and medicinal herbs, for example, was run by a high school biology teacher. The fire department staged a competition to put out a small blaze in a barrel. A horseback-riding school for children tested moving a “wounded” colleague by horse.

      Jaan Vokk, a retired corporal with the Estonian Army, ran the competition to identify armored vehicles on a slide show on his laptop. “Sometimes it feels like they are getting us ready for something,” he said ominously, while quizzing a teenage girl in camouflage to identify Russian tanks.

      The girl was ready, rattling off the names as pictures flashed on the computer screen — “T-72 main battle tank, BTR-80 armored personnel carrier” — and earning a nearly perfect score.

      “Partisan war is our way,” Mr. Vokk said. “We cannot equal their armor. We have to group in small units and do a lot of destruction of their logistics convoys. We needle them wherever we can.”

      Mr. Vokk served with the army in Afghanistan, where, he said, he gained an appreciation for the effectiveness of I.E.D.s.

      “They scared us,” he said. “And a Russian is just a human being as well. He would be scared.”

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Lithuania Issues Survival Manual Preparing Citizens How to Survive Russia Invading and Occupying Their Land

      By Nic Robertson, Antonia Mortensen, Elizabeth Roberts and Woj Treszczynski CNN
      Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT) October 28, 2016

      (CNN ) If you invade, don't expect our people to make it easy for you.

      That was the message Lithuania sent to Russia Friday as it published a manual for its three million citizens on how to defend their homeland in the event of invasion.

      Since Russia annexed Crimea two years ago, Lithuanians have been on edge.

      Conscription has been restarted and defense spending ramped up, not to mention their now-answered calls for NATO to deploy more troops to the Baltics.

      But even this is not enough to assuage anxiety -- the Lithuanian government has Friday issued a 75-page guide on what to do if the country is invaded, entitled "Prepare to survive emergencies and war."

      "Attention needs to be paid to the actions of the neighboring country -- Russia," says the manual.

      "This country does not hesitate to use a military force against its neighbors, and at this moment it basically continues the military aggression against Ukraine."

      It notes the Russian method of using "denial and ambiguity" at the beginning of an invasion and warns: "It is most important that the civilians are aware and have a will to resist -- when these elements are strong, an aggressor has difficulties in creating an environment for military invasion."

      Hard-hitting new instructions

      It is the third time the Lithuanian government has distributed a handbook of this type to its citizens since the Russian annexation of Crimea.

      The last one, published in December 2015, was entitled "Prepare to survive emergencies and war: a cheerful take on serious recommendations."

      It included cartoons of a family with a cat and noted that "while no country is immune to adversities of any nature" it is important not to panic if there is an emergency.
      There is nothing cheerful about the latest edition, which details how Lithuanians should spy and inform on the enemy if Russia succeeds in occupying part of the country.

      There are also detailed images of Russian-made tanks, grenades, mines and guns and instructions on how to recognize different types. Further instructions cover first aid and surviving in the wild.

      There will be 30,000 copies available in schools and libraries and it will also be published online.

      Lithuania borders Russia's strategically important enclave of Kaliningrad where it has been enhancing its already muscular military options, including the arrival of a nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missile system earlier this month.

      The document reminds Lithuania's people -- of whom around six percent are Russian, according to the last census in 2011 -- that the defense of the country is "the right and duty of every citizen".

      Citizens are the best early warning system

      Karolis Aleksa from the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, the editor of the manual, said that in times of invasion, "people become your early warning system," and by reporting crucial details they can help intelligence officers and soldiers.

      "This doesn't scare people when you give them this, so we will see actually society is waiting for this," he told CNN.

      Additionally, he suggested, simply creating and distributing the manual publicly and with "fanfare" could deter potential aggression from Russia.

      "It is precisely to send a message to Russia -- don't do it -- we are ready and will not be hoodwinked like Ukrainians," he said.

      Lithuania's defense minister, Juozas Olekas, told CNN "We demonstrate that whoever crosses our border will have strong resistance from our society, from our military forces"

      Lithuania lived under Soviet rule from 1940-1991. Thirty thousand Lithuanian resistance fighters were killed in the first 10 years as they tried to fight the Red Army from flimsy hideouts in Lithuania's sprawling forests.

      With ramped up defense spending, the reinstatement of conscription and NATO's troops, Lithuania is at the front line of a new Cold War.

      Its defense minister sees no thaw any time soon, telling CNN: "President Putin only understands power against power."

      The new handbook aims to place some of that power in the hands of Lithuania's people.

      ENGLISH VERSION PDF SURVIVAL MANUAL HERE: https://kam.lt/download/50720/ka%20t...i%20en--el.pdf

    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -
      Moved my recent Estonia thread to here. Should have posted it here originally. No idea why I didn't.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      How 8 countries are preparing for war with Russia

      By Logan Nye
      Nov 4, 2016 12:30:00 am
      NATO, Russia

      Russia continues to issue threats to countries on its borders — most notably those with significant populations of ethnic Russians like Georgia and Ukraine which have already felt Moscow’s wrath in recent years.

      But many European countries have reduced their spending in the decades since World War II, so preparing for a potential war with their aggressive and highly militarized neighbor is not as simple as giving their soldiers MREs, bullets, and marching orders.

      And while the U.S. helps guarantee the security of NATO members, a recent analysis by the RAND Corporation indicates that many countries on the eastern front could be swallowed up long before American reinforcements could arrive. Some countries, like Estonia, could be conquered in as little as 60 hours, analysts say.

      Here’s what eight countries in Eastern Europe are doing to get ready for the war they hope never comes:

      1. Ukrainians are hastily emplacing fixed defenses

      Ukrainian soldiers practice clearing trenches on Nov. 2 during an exercise in Ukraine with U.S. soldiers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Tarr)

      Ukraine is the one state on the list who is currently engaged in a war with Russia. While their troops have fought limited groups of Russian “volunteers,” Ukraine’s top generals are worried about a full-scale air attack and ground invasion.

      To prepare, they’re digging trenches and emplacing fixed defenses like tank traps and bunkers. They’ve also practiced maneuvering mobile air defenses and other units. Finally, Ukraine is planning a massive expansion of its navy to replace many some of the ships captured by Russia in the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

      2. Estonia is training a guerrilla force to bleed Russian occupiers dry

      Estonian soldiers provide cover fire for U.S. paratroopers on Nov. 3, 2016, in Hellenurme, Estonia, during a joint training exercise. (Photo: U.S. Army Pfc. James Dutkavich)

      Estonia fields an army of only 6,000 soldiers and fully expects to be overrun within days if attacked by Russia, an outcome that the RAND Corporation agrees with. But Estonia plans to make the Russians regret ever acre they took.

      The nation is hosting “military sport” contests and encouraging citizens to keep weapons in their homes. The sports events include 25-mile ruck marches, evasion exercises, plant identification, and others which test skills useful for an insurgent force. Over 25,000 Estonians have joined the weekly drills.

      3. Latvia is training up a “home guard” and investing in special operations

      Latvian soldiers drive their armored combat vehicles into position during a joint training exercise with U.S. troops on Oct. 31, 2016, in Adazi, Latvia. (Photo: U.S. Army)

      Like Estonia, Latvia is bullish on training citizens to resist an invasion. They’re moving forward with plans to allow “home guard” member to keep their weapons and night vision devices in their homes. They’re also betting heavily on special operations forces, tripling the size of the National Armed Force Special Operations Forces.

      Like most NATO members, they’re also trying to get more NATO troops on their soil to deter Russian aggression in the first place. Britain is already sending troops for exercises, and Denmark and France have promised forces as well.

      4. Lithuania

      (Photo: U.S. Army Pfc. James Dutkavich)

      Lithuania has distributed a civil defense book to its citizens which details how to survive a Russian invasion that includes a phone number which residents can call to report suspected Russian spies. It is also planning to restart military conscription for men between the ages of 19 and 26.

      5. Norway

      Norwegian soldiers prepare for a stalking event during the 2016 Best Sniper Squad Competition in Germany. The team went on to win the overall competition. (Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Emily Houdershieldt)

      Norway officially acknowledged that it believes Ukraine was illegally occupied by Russia during a state visit to Ukraine on Oct. 18. Russia later added Norway to its list of targets for “strategic” weapons. Russia uses the word “strategic” to differentiate between conventional and nuclear-capable forces.

      Norway has invited more NATO troops, including U.S. Marines, to train there. It’s also stepped up its intercepts of Russian aircraft flying near its shores. Norway’s F-16s now maintain a 24-hour alert. The country is also re-opening Cold War-era bases in the far north.

      6. Poland is buying massive amounts of equipment, including new subs

      Polish soldiers of 17th Wielkopolska Mechanized Brigade move a simulated wounded soldier during a react to contact scenario during exercise Combined Resolve VII at the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels Germany, Sept. 12, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Gage Hull)

      Poland, which is considered to be one of the more hawkish NATO members, has been warning of a threat from Moscow for some time. For the past few years, it has championed regional security agreements with its neighbors and worked hard to ingrain itself with NATO.

      Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland has ramped up the purchase of military hardware such as new, stealthy submarines and Polish-manufactured S-70 helicopters for its special operations soldiers.

      7. and 8. Finland and Sweden are securing defense agreements with the U.K. and U.S.

      Finland and Sweden are countries which famously prefer to avoid alliances, but Russian aggression has spurred an interest in limited defense agreements which will make it easier for NATO troops to deploy to those countries in the event of war.

      The U.K. and U.S. signed two contracts each with Sweden and Norway, and all four agreements have different details. But, the broad strokes are that all four countries will increase their interoperability by holding joint training exercises as well as participating in research, development, and procurement projects.

      By Logan Nye
      Nov 4, 2016 12:30:00 am Logan is a former Fort Bragg paratrooper who deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Sweden preparing for WW3 with Russia as Cold War returns

      OFFICIALS in Sweden have been told to prepare for WW3 with Russia – returning to a Cold War footing.

      By David Trayner / Published 15th December 2016

      The Swedish government has sent letters to all local authorities, warning they must be ready for war to break out.

      The message tells civil servants to speed up decision-making, get better at keeping information secret – and improve “crisis communication”.

      The new instruction comes after Sweden station troops on its island Gotland – across from Russia in the Baltic Sea – to ward off any invasion.

      Vladimir Putin is primed to start World War 3 by invading Europe in 2017, military experts warned.

      The officials said the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – which are NATO members – are most at risk.

      Magnus Dyberg-Ek, of Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency, said: “What is new is that the security situation in our region has deteriorated and that therefore we must prepare ourselves in terms of war and of conflict.

      “This strategy is not new – we used it during the Cold War and will now strengthen coordination regarding civil defence.

      “We have sent out the letter in part because local authorities want clear instructions so that they know how to act in a crisis situation.”

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      US Tanks, Troops Arrive In Estonia As Part Of NATO Anti-Russia Build Up

      As part of continued a NATO build-up and US efforts to counter an alleged Russian threat, US military hardware, including M1A2 Abrams battle tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles have arrived in the northern Estonian town of Tapa, shortly after similar deployments were made to other Eastern European nations including Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany.


      "The movement of equipment and troops into and around Europe marks the beginning of a continuous rotation of armored brigade combat teams from the United States as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve," the US Defense Department said in a statement, commenting on the move. It added that "Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued US commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring
      peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine."

      In July 2016, NATO members agreed to the “biggest reinforcement since the Cold War,” posting four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

      than 50 units of US military equipment, including four battle tanks and 15 infantry fighting vehicles, were delivered to Tapa, the Estonian Defense Forces said in a statement [5]. Personnel of the Charlie Company of 68th Armored Regiment's 1st Battalion from the US Army 4th Infantry Division arrived in the town two days earlier, on January 30. Company commander Captain Edward Bachar said the US troops would take part in the Estonian Independence Day parade. Earlier, Bachar also said that his company would begin its expert marksmanship training this week.

      The new unit would replace a paratrooper company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade's 503rd Infantry Regiment, which was deployed to Estonia in September. The paratrooper company would then go back to its permanent base in Italy.

      The Estonian deployment marks a new phase of the Operation Atlantic Resolve, which began in April 2014, following the flaring of tensions between Russia and the West. Atlantic Resolve is perceived by Washington as a demonstration of continued US commitment to the collective security of Europe in the view of alleged Russian “assertiveness.”

      As reported previously, last month some 2,800 pieces of US military hardware, including US Abrams tanks, Paladin artillery, Bradley fighting vehicles and 4,000 troops arrived in Europe as part of the operation. These forces subsequently moved to Poland to participate in military drills in late January, and then were deployed across seven countries, including the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany. A headquarters unit is stationed in Germany.

      In addition to American troops going to Poland, NATO members Germany, Canada and Britain are also contributing to the significant NATO forces buildup in Eastern Europe and are sending battalions of up to 1,000 troops each to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
      Apart from the military buildup on Russian borders, the US and NATO strategy also includes conducting continuous, enhanced multinational training and security cooperation activities with US and NATO partners in eastern Europe. Since the Operation began, these military exercises have been conducted in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. In mid-January,

      Estonia and Lithuania also signed agreements with the US regulating the status and deployment framework of American soldiers and hardware on the territory of the two Baltics states, which were dubbed “first of its kind.”

      As RT adds [6], the agreements provided a legal framework for the presence of US military personnel and their family members in the two Baltic States, as well as the use of the local military sites by American troops. They also enable a range of joint “defense-related activities.”

      Meanwhile, while NATO members continue to point toward perceived “Russian aggression,” calling it “a source of instability,” Russia has repeatedly denied that it poses any kind of threat. Moscow has also expanded its own military training and increased its strategic nuclear capabilities in areas such as Kaliningrad, its western exclave. Russia also tried to ease tensions by proposing enhanced cooperation with NATO on multiple levels in August. The proposal covered such fields as combating terrorism and “cooperation to avoid incidents at sea and in the air” in border areas with NATO countries.