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Russian forces lined up along NATO's border for 'assault' operations PDF Imprimare Email
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Vineri, 20 Aprilie 2018 22:58

Kremlin troops are poised for an attack, ambassadors from three Baltic states told MPs.

Russian forces are lined up along NATO’s border ready for “assault” operations, top diplomats warned today.

Kremlin troops are poised for an attack, with alliance soldiers providing a vital “trip wire” against mounting aggression, ambassadors from three Baltic states told MPs.

 

The eastern envoys outlined the threat they face from Moscow as they gave evidence to the Commons Defence Committee.

 

Latvian ambassador Baiba Braze warned of “systemic behaviour where it increases its military presence at the borders of its neighbours”.

 

She said: “Just 32km from our border there is a big increase in Russia’s newest helicopters and there is a special helicopter base that was redeveloped and fully-equipped.

 

“Those are assault capabilities - they are not defensive capabilities.”

 

Spetnatz special forces were only 70km from Estonia’s border, MPs were told.

 

Ms Braze went on: “In the western military district there are more than 100,000 Russian soldiers, which is far beyond what would be necessary for a defence effort of the Russian Federation.

 

“No NATO member state, no Baltic state or any others in the region have ever expressed any threats towards Russia.

 

Blasting the “completely disproportionate” military build-up, she stressed Latvian “defence concepts do not provide for aggressive military actions”.

“That’s why the presence of our NATO allies is so important,” she added.

 

About 800 British soldiers are stationed in Estonia, along with four RAF Typhoons defending the skies from Moscow warplanes.

 

Estonian ambassador Tiin Intelmann told the committee there had been more than 40 violations of its airspace during NATO’s air policing mission.

 

She told MPs: “Estonia is fortunate to have the British contingent in the deterrence NATO is providing.

 

“The 800 people you have there in Estonia are fully integrated in our brigade and we hope this presence will continue as long as necessary.”

 

Lithuanian ambassador Renatus Norkus said: “Whereas the Baltic states can do a lot in terms of building resilience when it comes to soft threats and challenges, when it comes to hard military challenges, alone ourselves we are not able to do that.

“Without the presence on the ground of allied troops it would be very, very hard to do anything in terms of defence.

 

“Although the Baltic states have political will to defend themselves - and we will be defending ourselves - it will be a huge mess if something happens.”

 

Mr Norkus said NATO troops’ “trip wire” was important politically.

 

“Having the United States, the UK and France as three nuclear power being present in the Baltic region is of utmost strategic importance,” he told the committee.

 

 

“This sends a clear message to whoever might want to challenge us that they will be faced with bigger consequences.”

 

The committee was taking evidence ahead of the Modernising Defence Programme, the latest armed forces’ review, which is due to report before July.

Source: mirror


 

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