A new NATO report makes it clear that a resurgent and bellicose Russian military is increasing military tensions in Europe to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia has conducted at least 18 large-scale exercises over the past three years, “some of which have involved more than 100,000 troops.”
Among them were simulated nuclear attacks against NATO allies and partner nations, such as Sweden in March 2013.
“We haven’t had to worry about this for 25 years, and while I wish it were otherwise, now we do,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter Tuesday. The administration has proposed spending $3.4 billion on its troops and training in Europe.
British Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander of NATO’s Maritime Command, said NATO has observed “a level of Russian capability that we haven’t seen before,” and that there is “more activity from Russian submarines than we’ve seen since the days of the Cold War.” This is “very different from the period of quiet submarine activity that perhaps we’ve seen in the past,” he said.
“Russia in the last few months has returned to, I would say, nearly a Cold War level of activity that goes towards our homeland, with long-range attacks, exercises and those types of things,” former U.S. Navy Commander, Admiral Samuel Locklear, told the House Armed Services Committee in April 2015, adding that Russia was reasserting itself politically and militarily.
Russia actions are provoking reactions.
This week, Sweden re-activated a former Cold War base on the island of Gotland to address the potential Russian threat.
Sweden’s Supreme Commander, General Mikael Byden, said, “This is one of the great challenges right now: What are they up to, and why do they do it?”
The responses come as an analysis by the RAND Corporation released this week said Russian tanks could overrun NATO’s existing forces in the Baltic nations. The report warned NATO’s ground forces are no match for Russia’s.
“The … findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,” the report said.
h/t: Fox News