Abrams, Bradley and others ...
On October 24, onlookers who found themselves at the berths of the port of Liepaja witnessed the arrival of a large consignment of ammunition, ammunition and armored vehicles for the American troops. Among the delivered equipment were massive Tanks M1A2 Abrams and Bradley armored vehicles. The second batch of these machines arrived a few days later, on October 27th. Ferries with equipment traveled from the German port of Travemunde. In Liepaja, tanks and “Béteers” were preparing for reloading in the territory of the Terrabalt terminal protected by the Latvian military police. Then, military equipment went to different destinations - both on highways and by rail. At first, the convoy with Abrams tanks headed towards the Lithuanian border. By the way, a new shift of the US military, consisting of 230 soldiers, arrived in Lithuania a week earlier. Together with them, servicemen from the so-called “Direct Support Company”, who are involved in the logistics of the American army, came to the country. Tanks and armored vehicles were deployed at the Rukle training ground. Altogether, a total of about seventy vehicles were deployed in Lithuania, including five tanks and 13 infantry fighting vehicles.
In Estonia, the American armored vehicles went to the military town of Tapa. Earlier, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of this country reported that the Yankees would deliver here over forty units of heavy equipment, including four Abrams tanks, ten Bradley, three self-propelled Paladin self-propelled guns and two sapper tanks. All of them are intended for military personnel from the US 3 Infantry Division, who replaced, in rotation, those soldiers who had been in Estonia before. By the way, as the deputy head of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Union Felix Mägus informed, the NATO military in the first eight months of the year made 10% of the total number of tourists visiting the city (up to 350 people).
Hospitality workers view this situation as negative, because the arrival of such a large number of military forces tourists to get nervous and leave Estonia.
In Latvia tanks were driven to the Adazi base by means of the Riga – Liepaja highway and the Riga 27 and 28 highway in October. They were driving in the middle of the road, in a continuous lane, pressing everyone they met to the sides of the road. A day later, on October 29, American armored personnel carriers and several more tanks left the Garkalne railway station. Two 69-ton tracked armored vehicles were attached to one 27,6-ton platform with stencilled logos of the Latvian Railway company and designations in Russian. Almost all the equipment was sand color, which was used by the US Army during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The loading was observed by Lieutenant Jackson and his deputy, a smiling woman with stripes of the 1 Brigade of the US Army. It turned out that only one Abrams M1A2 tank weighing at least 62 tons is placed on one platform. They also stood on the platforms and lightly armored green-colored Humvee SUVs (as in the Bundeswehr), engineering vehicles, and trucks. Technique before transportation was partially dismantled, without dynamic protection and arsenal. According to the military, retrofitting, as well as repainting, takes a few hours.
The head of the press department of the Latvian Ministry of Defense, Kaspars Galkin, reassured journalists who watched the loading and unloading: “This is not a war, but an exercise. On the basis of our army in Lielvarde, for example, were helicopters UH-60 Black Hawk, that is, the rotation is constantly. Military equipment from these two ships in Liepaja will be present in Latvia for at least three months - and it was delivered here at the request of the United States. Eight Abrams tanks and nine Bradley armored vehicles (and one hundred and fifty US troops. - VS) are now based at our Adazhi base. And in total in the Baltic countries there are now seventy units of heavy military equipment. In terms of the exercises, coordination with other combat arms during ground maneuvers, air cover, and naval operations is indicated. And I do not comment on other people's phobias. ”
However, authoritative Latvian political expert Sergey Vasilyev believes that there is a reason for alarm - and considerable: “One can joke as much as possible on the weakness of Baltic politicians, but US tanks and armored personnel carriers are quite real, and their number constantly increases and steadily . If there is no preparation for war, call it something different ... ".
To suppress local Russians?
It did not go unnoticed that Latvian Defense Minister Raymond Bergmanis signed a contract with the Swedish company SAAB Dynamics AB on the acquisition of short-range RBS-70 anti-aircraft missiles. “We are now actively creating an air defense architecture that includes a warning system, rapid response and radar. The purchase of missiles is a step that allows us to strengthen our combat capability, ”said the Minister. The signed agreement provides that Latvia will receive a part of the missiles this year, and the rest - next, it will cost the country 3,67 million euros. By the way, the RBS-70 is a portable anti-aircraft missile system designed to hit helicopters and airplanes at low altitude.
Here, in Latvia, at the end of October, the exercises of the American special forces took place. In Adazi, in the presence of the US Ambassador to Latvia, Nancy Petit, an operation was carried out to detain some conditional "rebels". The special forces were supported in this by Black Hawk helicopters. After the Latvian military published photographs of the American participants in the maneuvers, experts drew attention to the strangeness - the military special forces were not guessed in the equipment of the fighters. The heroes of this photo shoot are fighters in flight overalls and with shortened versions of Heckler & Koch Gewehr 36 assault rifles, which in the United States are used only by some SWAT (police special forces) units.
Latvian opposition politician Vladimir Linderman points out: “The American special forces in Latvia at the Adazi range are working out an exercise to detain the rebels.” The people who are going through argue that it is not an army, but a police special forces, i.e. sharpened precisely on the suppression of internal unrest. The exercise was attended by the US Ambassador to Latvia Nancy Petit. So everything is grown-up. The same competent people assert that the US police special forces are in Latvia and Estonia on a permanent basis. This is not the army, but the police, and, if formally approached, international agreements on the deployment of troops are not violated, as it were. Please note that the special forces are deployed in Latvia and Estonia, they are not in Lithuania. ”
Next, the politician gives his assessment of what is happening. “There is only one logical explanation: in Lithuania, unlike in Latvia and Estonia, the share of the Russian population is insignificant. That is, Russian residents of the Baltic states are perceived as a threat. ”
The assumption is quite likely - especially considering that something similar is happening in Estonia. There in the northeastern region of Ida-Virumaa, a joint exercise of the local prefecture of the police and frontier guard and volunteer militia “Kiteselite” took place recently. The siloviki "suppressed rebellion": during the exercises, the defense of state and municipal facilities of the city was practiced during conditional riots. Note that in Ida-Virumaa, about 80% of the population are Russian-speaking residents. In Narva (the largest city in the region), more than 90% of the population is Russian. Experts interpreted the fact of the exercise as evidence that Tallinn really seriously fears the uprising of local Russians humiliated by unequal status, mass statelessness and persecution of their native language.
Note that the Minister of Internal Affairs of Estonia Hanno Pevkur spoke about the need for the participation of US special forces in guarding the border of the republic with Russia. He stated this during a meeting in Washington with US Homeland Security Minister Jeh Johnson. “In connection with the creation of a special border guard unit this year, one of the specific possibilities of such assistance is to invite US border special forces to train our unit. We are also waiting for the participation of the FBI special forces in large European exercises in Estonia next year, ”said Pevkur. In addition, he proposed his American counterpart to create a bilateral center for cybersecurity.
"Warthogs" on the warpath
Tallinn generally seeks to strengthen cooperation with other NATO countries. So, it became known that the military contingents of Germany and Great Britain would arrive in Estonia in 2016 year - the Commander of the Baltic Republic Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Riho Terras, informed about this. “We expect the arrival of German soldiers in June next year. We are negotiating with the British about the timing of the deployment of troops in our country, ”said Terras. According to the general, Denmark also expressed interest in a larger-scale participation in maneuvers held in Estonia.
As Terras recalled, more than 500 military personnel of NATO allies (mainly the US Army) with periodic rotation of the contingent are constantly in Estonia. In addition, fighters of the Alliance members deployed at Ämari Air Base protect the airspace of the Baltic countries. At present, the German Air Force contingent with four Eurofighter Typhoon fighters is on duty. This is the fifth shift of the so-called air police. The 12 A-10 American attack aircraft are also located in маmari, which will remain in Estonia at least until the beginning of the 2016 year. These attack aircraft are part of the 74 Squadron of the 23 Air Group of the United States Air Force stationed at Moody Air Force Base (Moody) in Georgia.
Note that in the US Armed Forces, A-10, resembling its angular appearance of a famous inhabitant of African savannahs, received the nickname "warthog." A-10 are distinguished by high strength and special protection of the pilot against fire from the ground. In fact, this is a kind of cocoon of titanium, called the "bath". Russians are most concerned about the fact that the "warthog" is capable of carrying nuclear and low-power nuclear ammunition. Such a plane can fly from Estonia to the border with the Russian Federation in just a few minutes. Nearby are St. Petersburg, a port in Ust-Luga, Novgorod, Pskov, other major cities, important infrastructure. It is clear that in the event of an attack, the Russian Armed Forces will not be idle.
But if on board the NATO attack aircraft weaponThis changes the whole picture. Even a single such type of ammunition is capable of causing truly terrible consequences. And what if the US moves to Estonia after the attack aircraft and nuclear charges?
Such a step, with all his madness, is still not quite impossible now. The German TV channel ZDF briefed the other day about the “beginning of the installation of American nuclear weapons of the new model at the military base of the Bundeswehr Fliehorst Büchel in Rhineland-Palatinate”. ZDF journalists seem to have documents confirming plans to deploy a new US tactical nuclear weapon in Europe. “In the event of war, the German pilots operating the Tornado type of aircraft will have to withdraw these bombs to combat positions within the framework of the so-called NATO nuclear participation strategy,” the television station said.
And what about the locals? Many of them met Americans without enthusiasm - although their discontent has a special touch.
“Today I was uncomfortable and ashamed because of the behavior of my compatriots. I watched at the Tapa training ground, along with the commander-in-chief of the US Air Force squadron who was at the exercises in Émari, as A-10 strike aircraft struck targets in collaboration with firearm from Estonia, the USA, Germany and a number of other countries. Beautiful weather and good teachings. I asked a colleague how three hundred-plus squadron servicemen feel in Estonia. He replied: “Just fine, very beautiful country, the Estonians are proud of their state, the houses are in order, the streets are clean. Only sometimes it is difficult for me to explain to my soldiers why they are mistreated in the city, although we came here to help and support your country. " I asked for clarification and found out that those allies whose skin color is different from the local ones have to suffer verbal and sometimes physical attacks in Tallinn, ”Jaak Tarien, commander-in-chief of the Estonian Air Force, told reporters.
It seems that this is not only a matter of xenophobia and racism of Estonians. Although many Balts were thoroughly powdered with propaganda, exposing the arriving Americans as “our defenders against possible Russian aggression,” not all residents of this region have forgotten how to analyze what is happening on their own. And they, of course, meet the newly-minted “defenders” with no particular enthusiasm, who can plunge their land into the abyss of military disasters ...