The North Atlantic Alliance continues to prepare for the allegedly possible Russian military invasion of the Baltic states. To counter Russia, plans, strategies are being developed, and even a special military command has been created.
To a large extent, the hysteria surrounding the military threat to the Baltic states from Russia is inflated by the Baltic republics themselves. Small states need to somehow justify their need for continuous financial injections from the United States and Western European countries. The role of the “West outpost” on the border with Russia in this case is very beneficial both financially and politically: for this reason the West is turning a blind eye to numerous violations of the rights of the Russian population in the Baltic countries.
Most of all, NATO is afraid of a Russian tank invasion of the Baltic states. If Russia abandons its Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania Tanksthen the Alliance will have very ghostly opportunities to confront them. The thing is in a completely disproportionate ratio of the number of tanks and armored vehicles: if Russia on its western borders holds, according to open sources, about 760 tanks and 1280 infantry fighting vehicles, then NATO has only 129 tanks and 280 infantry fighting vehicles.
After two American armored brigades were withdrawn from Europe under US President Barack Obama, the number of troops the Alliance possesses has further declined. Donald Trump also headed for a reduction in the American military presence in other countries of the world, forcing European states to pay for American military bases in their own territories.
Now the basis of the armored power of American troops in Europe is the 2nd Cavalry Regiment at Stryker and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. In addition, 1 armored brigade is deployed in rotation order, armed with about 90 M-1 tanks and 130 M-2 combat vehicles, as well as about 18 M-109 self-propelled howitzers. But is this enough strength to confront Russia in the Baltic states? Clearly, no.
Therefore, in September 2019, a new NATO command was created in Ulm (Germany), responsible for the operational movement and support of the alliance forces. So far, 160 military will serve in the command, then its number will be increased to 600 people.
The creation of the command is consistent with the Four Thirty plan adopted by the leaders of NATO countries in 2018. In accordance with this plan, it is planned to create 30 mechanized battalions, as well as 30 air squadrons and 30 warships, which will be capable of operational deployment within 30 days.
The number of armed forces of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia is so small that it is not possible to consider them as serious opponents, capable of not only confronting, but even detaining the Russian army for any considerable period. Therefore, in the Baltic countries, the combined battalions of NATO troops are deployed on a rotational basis. At the same time, the Baltic States themselves are regarded as ballast among the NATO military.
As for the protection of the coast, it is still more sad. Even a review of the Naval College, cited by the popular American publication The National Interest, underscores the naval weakness of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and even Poland. These countries are called directly “NATO ballast” and note the lack of naval traditions, weakness fleet and coastal vulnerability in the event of an armed conflict with Russia.
The minesweepers and patrol boats possessed by the Baltic states cannot be regarded as a serious adversary to Russian surface and submarine ships. Therefore, in the event of a conflict in the Baltic Sea, the only hope for the Baltic countries and even Poland will be for timely assistance from the United States and Great Britain, as well as Norway.
That is why Washington and Brussels are making so much effort to lure Finland and Sweden into the North Atlantic Alliance - countries that are rich and have fairly good armed forces. If these Scandinavian states joined NATO, this would seriously change the balance of power in northeastern Europe.