Monday, June 22, 2015

The Baltics, Russia and NATO

I have a piece out tomorrow on NATO's growing credibility-capability crisis. But I also wanted to post this piece in order to point out the specific vulnerabilities faced by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

While a Russian attack on the Baltics would likely center around a semi-covert campaign in the vein of Russia's Eastern Ukraine operations, this is my (very, very basic) illustration (using Google Maps) of the Baltic states vulnerability to a Russian invasion. It is based on my assessment of Russia's military build-up in its Kaliningrad exclave, and Russia's pre-existing military capabilities in its western military district. In the event of a Russian invasion of one or more of the Baltic states, NATO's rapid reaction forces would face rapid encirclement and compression. Reliant on Airborne units, and lacking a significant rapid-deployment heavy weapons capability, NATO would risk being locked against the Baltic Sea. To counter this threat, NATO must urgently boost its combined arms presence in Poland. This would enable NATO forces to encircle Kaliningrad and reinforce NATO units in the Baltics before they were overrun. Please note, I don't mean to play 'war games' with this piece. I just want to point out the obvious vulnerabilities that we face. President Putin must be more effectively deterred.

Please check out links for my previous commentary on Russia: found here.

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