Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Arctic-Kaliningrad-Crimea: Strategic Russian Defense Triangle

Interesting article here...

The second to the last paragraph is the best and even talks about creating a new AFADA in the North Sea Fleet...also, it is interesting to see the Russian psyche going back to the late 19th century of "we have no allies, only our Army and Navy."  While it may be rhetoric, to me it appears that Russia really feels that NATO advances are the reason they are doing the things they are doing.

http://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201501150803-rbra.htm

15 Jan 15, Zvezda - In this near year Moscow will take additional steps in developing the groups of forces in Crimea, the Kaliningrad Oblast, and in the Arctic.  On Tuesday this was reported by the Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov.  These steps will be in response to the increasing military activity of NATO close to Russia's borders.

"In 2015 the main efforts of the MoD will be to focus on the combat capability of our military in the capacity of the plans and military structure.  The main attention will be on the groups in Crimea, Kaliningrad, and the Arctic," said the General.

Developments in southeastern Ukraine, the Western reaction, have brought NATO forces closer to Russian borders shows that Russia has no allied besides its army and navy.  In the new military doctrine, in comparison with the one from 2010, the number of threats has increased from 11 to 14.  The main geopolitical enemy is NATO.

The Language of Force
"Since 2014 the periodicity of US and NATO intelligence flights over the Baltic countries, Baltic Sea and Barents Sea have sharply risen to 8-12 flights a week.  In 2014, 140 RC-135 flights were conducted and in comparison to 2013, only 22.  Russian military acitivity in the Kaliningrad Oblast and in the Baltic Sea is of interest to these intelligence collectors - Swedish AF Gulfstream, German P-3C Orion, Danish Challenger, Portuguese Orion based at Zoknyay, Latvia" said Gerasimov.

Russia needs to respond to the emergence of new NATO military units:  NATO quick reaction forces have 150 Abrams M1 tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles in the Baltic region, strengthened by F-16 fighters capable of dropping the B-61 nuclear bomb.

"According to various sources, there are 150-400 units are located at US airbases in Germany," according to an Academic Professor of military science Vadim Kozyulin.  This is a gross violation of the treaty of not putting nuclear weapons in non nuclear capable countries.  It forbids the training of these types of weapons with countries who do not have them.  However, under the framework of NATO there is a committee on nuclear weapons, which trains pilots of the NATO alliance on their use."

The creation of a US missile shield in Poland and Romania.  The Chairman of the Committee on intelligence in the US Congressman Mike Rogers officially recognized the potential direction of rocket-interceptors against some "threats" coming from Moscow.  In the same vein, US Navy ships activity has increased in the Black Sea.

Action and Reaction
Moscow does not hide the fact that it is not only ready, but it is actively opposing the Western pressure.  In the middle of last year, the General Staff announced that Tu-22M3 BACKFIRE will be based in Crimea as well as the tactical rocket Iskander-M (SS-26) by 2016.  Both can carry conventional as well as nuclear missiles.  The Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu said that we can put these missiles anywhere in Russia anytime.  "Where we want them, they will go!" emphasized the Minister to one of his military colleagues in the MoD.

This is why the "Iskander-M" showed up in the Kaliningrad and Leningrad Oblasts.  In the first case they counter the threat of the US national missile defense base in Poland.  In the second case, they target NATO infrastructure in the Baltic.  Placing these systems in Crimea will allow Russia to guarantee the destruction of a American anti-rocket base in Romania.  The Tu-22M3 will be able to carry out strikes using cruise missiles Kh-22 (AS-4) and Kh-15 (AS-16), but will also eliminate the US naval threat in the Black Sea.

"The Tu-22M3 will be able to eliminate the current threat, and any potential threat, which are relevant for Russia, including destroyers entering the Black Sea which carry a direct threat to Russia's nuclear forces - said Igor' Korotchenko the editor of the National Defense magazine.  Last year our bomber shocked the crew of the USS Donald Cook."

Additionally, Sergey Shoygu reported at the last meeting of the MoD that "the president has signed a decree recognizing that Crimean citizens are now Russias which will allow ~1,700 who have the proper military paperwork to serve in the very near future."

The current threats from the Arctic are not listed.  However, Moscow it is of the same interest as Kaliningrad or Crimea.  The continental shelf of Russia in this region is very rich in carbon.  The Northern Sea route due to the melting of ice will become one of the leading maritime routes from Asia to Europe.  On its shores there are massive amounts of natural resources which need to be defended.

Last year in the arctic, the North Fleet already has been unified under one strategic command.  It consists of an additional air defense division, a marine brigade, and is forming a motorized rifle brigade.  On Kotel'nyy Island a tactical group is available.  It includes antiship and antiair equipment.  In order to ensure normal living in the arctic, special military camps were built.  Currently there is an independent motorized rifle brigade (arctic) in the Murmansk oblast being formed.  The second arctic brigade will be formed in 2016 in the Yamalo-Nenetsk autonomous region.

The Question of Cost
this year the MoD plans to modernize the army and navy and allocated 3.3 trillion RUR.  According to the deputy minister of defense Tatanya Shevtsevoy in an interview with Kommersant, this is 4.2% of the GDP, twice as much in recent years.

According to the plans, in 2015, 15 new units will be created, including one Air Force and Air Defense Army (in the Northern Fleet), a combined aviation division, a rocket and artillery brigade, a brigade of surface ships and intelligence.  In this year, the troops will receive more than 700 armored units, 1,550 various automobiles, 126 aircraft and 88 helicopters, and also 2 brigades of Iskander-M.  In the strategic nuclear forces they will receive more than 50 ICBMs.  The navy, reminded Shoygu, should be replenished with 2 submarines and 5 surface combatants.  As a result of the modernized forces and the military technology, the army gets (these numbers make no sense...)

Against the background of the economic crisis and the devaluation of the ruble, the tempo of modernizing the army and navy seems difficult.  However, there is no simple way out and in the words of Aleksandr III, "around the whole world we only have two allies, the army and navy."

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