NATO air defense system in Europe. Part 2
In addition to the deep modernization of the existing anti-aircraft systems in the first half of the 80-x, the newly developed air defense systems based on modern advances in radar, information technology and rocket production were put into service in NATO countries. New anti-aircraft systems were created taking into account the experience of hostilities in local conflicts. To all, without exception, the air defense system, which appeared in the 80-s, was required to implement the highest possible mobility, noise immunity, the ability to operate effectively as part of the centralized air defense forces, and autonomously.
Back in the middle of 60-x, there was a tendency to create anti-aircraft systems based on air combat missiles. The pioneer in this regard was the American Chaparrel air defense system with the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. The use of ready-made SD allowed to significantly reduce costs and speed up development. At the same time, compared with the range of application from an aircraft carrier, the range of destruction of air targets during launch from a ground-based launcher was somewhat reduced.
In 1980, the Swiss company Oerlikon Contraves Defense created an anti-aircraft missile and artillery complex - Skyguard-Sparrow. It used a combination of two systems: the Skygard fire control equipment of the twin 35-mm Oerlikon towed anti-aircraft gun and the US medium-range air-to-air missile Sparrow AIM-7 with a modified guidance system. In the Skygard-Sparrow SIRC, airspace monitoring and identification of detected targets is carried out by a survey impulse-Doppler radar with a detection range of up to 25 km. The tracking of the detected air targets can be conducted either by the tracking radar or by an optical-electronic module. The maximum launching range of the missile defense system is 10 km, height reach is 6 km.
Unlike aviation AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, where a semi-active radar seeker was used, in an anti-aircraft missile, targeting is carried out using an infrared seeker built on the basis of a passive infrared homing head of a South African aviation guided missile Darter. Capture of an air target (viewing angle of 100 °) can be carried out both when the missile is on the launcher (before launch), and after launch. The second method is used to hit targets located at a distance of more than 3 km from the positions of air defense systems. In this case, the missile is launched with a lead in the interception point, calculated according to the radar tracking.
The Skygard-Sparrow complex launcher with four transport and launch containers was mounted on the 35-mm paired towed ZSU chassis. The control equipment of the air defense missile system is placed in a unified towed van, armored personnel carrier or other chassis. With a relatively low price, the Skygard-Sparrow complex in the 80-s was quite an effective means of object defense of the near zone. Its important advantage was the use of anti-aircraft artillery and missile units in one bundle, which in general increased the efficiency and eliminated the “dead zone” characteristic of the air defense system. At the same time, some NATO countries acquired this complex without anti-aircraft guns.
In Italy, using air combat missiles in the early 80s, an all-weather medium-range anti-aircraft missile system Spada was created. As a means of destroying air targets in the Spada air defense system, the Aspide-1A solid-propellant missile, designed on the basis of the American AIM-7E Sparrow missile with a semi-active seeker, was used.
The complex includes: a detection radar, an operational command post and a fire control center. All of them are placed in standard hardware containers on towed trailers. Hardware can also be installed on the ground with the help of jacks. On the jacks are also posted PU SAMs, platforms with antennas of radar detection and illumination. In the firing section there is one command post and three missile launchers (for 6 missiles).
Compared with the American air defense missile system Hock, the Italian anti-aircraft complex is inferior in range — 15 km and target altitude — 6 km. But at the same time it has a higher degree of automation, noise immunity, reliability and shorter response time. In the 1990, the Italian armed forces had the 18 Spda air defense system. The complex was repeatedly upgraded, the most modern version, created at the end of 90-x, received the designation "Spada-2000". The range of destruction of air targets in this air defense missile system is 25 km, which is already comparable to the range of the air attack system "Hawk".
With the help of the Spada-2000 complexes in Italy, air bases were covered in the past. At the moment, the Italian Spada-2000 and Hawk air defense systems are not on constant combat duty and only occasionally deploy during exercises.
For all its merits, the complexes of Spad and Skygard-Sparrow had the ability to combat single aerial targets within the line of sight. Their capabilities did not allow them to fight against group targets and tactical missiles. That is, the data of the air defense system could relatively effectively counteract front-line aviation, carrying out strikes by the NAR and free-fall bombs, and they were ineffective against bombers with cruise missiles. Practical work on the creation of an air defense system designed to replace the single-channel long-range air defense system Nike-Hercules has been conducted in the USA since the beginning of the 70-s. In 1982, the new multi-channel mobile long-range air defense system Patriot MIM-104 was adopted by the US Air Defense Forces. The Patriot complex is designed to cover large administrative and industrial centers, troop concentration areas, air force and naval facilities from all existing means of air attack. Radar with phased array AN / MPQ-53 is capable of simultaneously detecting and identifying more than 100 air targets, continuously accompanying eight of them, which represent the greatest threat, prepare initial data for firing, launching and targeting up to three missiles on each target. The anti-aircraft battery includes 4-8 launchers with four missiles each. A battery is a minimum tactical-fire unit, which can independently carry out a combat mission.
Management MUR MIM-104 on the trajectory is a combined guidance system. At the initial stage of the flight, a microprocessor-controlled rocket is programmed to a given point, at an average, the course of the rocket is adjusted using radio commands, and the final one is guided by a rocket-tracking system that combines command guidance with semi-active. The use of this method of guidance has significantly reduced the sensitivity of the anti-aircraft complex equipment to organized radio-electronic interference, and also makes it possible to carry out the guidance of missiles at optimal trajectories and hit targets with high efficiency.
Launchers mounted on a two-axle semi-trailer or four-axle heavy tractor terrain. The launcher has a lifting boom, a mechanism for lifting the missile defense and azimuth guidance, a drive for installing a radio mast, which is used to transmit data and receive commands to the fire control center, communications equipment, a power unit and an electronic control unit. Launcher can deploy missiles in a container in azimuth ranging from + 110 to −110 ° relative to its longitudinal axis. The launching angle of the rockets is fixed - 38 ° from the horizon line. With the location of the Patriot air defense missile system at positions, a firing sector is assigned to each launcher, while in order to prevent the occurrence of the sector’s “dead zones”, they overlap many times.
Despite some shortcomings, the Patriot air defense missile system was widely distributed, including in the armed forces of NATO countries. In the US air defense units in Europe, the first complexes of this type began to arrive in the middle of the 80's. Soon after adoption, the question arose of upgrading the complex, primarily with the aim of imparting anti-missile properties to it. The most advanced modification is the Patriot PAC-3. The last version of the MIM-104 SAM includes the destruction of air targets at a range of 100 km and an altitude of 25 km. The anti missile ERINT, introduced into the air defense system specifically for hitting ballistic targets, has a maximum firing range of up to 45 km and an altitude of up to 20 km.
In the second half of the 80s, the most powerful air defense grouping in the entire history was created in Western Europe. history North Atlantic Alliance. In addition to long-range and medium-range air defense systems, near-air bases and large garrisons were deployed on an ongoing basis short-range air defense systems. The leadership of the alliance seriously feared a breakthrough at low altitudes of Soviet front-line aviation aircraft, first of all this related to front-line bombers with variable geometry of the Su-24 wing, capable of making high-speed low-altitude shots.
After the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact Organization, the need for such a large-scale and expensive air defense system disappeared. The threat of armed conflict has fallen to a minimum level, and the weapons and equipment that once inspired Western countries to fear the Soviet army were divided by “independent republics” formed in the open spaces of the USSR. Under these conditions, against the background of cuts in military budgets, a massive write-off of anti-aircraft systems and interceptor fighters built in 60-70-s began in the armies of NATO member states. For several years, most of the operators got rid of the long-range, but obsolete and cumbersome Nike-Hercules air defense system. The longest service was in Italy and Turkey; the last Nike-Hercules were written off in 2005. In 1991, the United Kingdom refused the long-range air defense system, the Bloodhawn Mk 2, after which the British Isles air defense was carried out only by fighters. The Hawk mid-range air-defense complexes of early modifications on the lamp element base required significant funds to maintain them in working condition, and they were also rushed to get rid of in most NATO countries.
In the fighter units, they parted without any regrets with the extremely dangerous Starfighters. However, there were exceptions, the Italian Air Force exploited its F-104S until February 2004. Following the "Starfighters" came the turn of the "Phantoms". However, these planes were delayed in service longer, the first to abandon them in 1992, in the British RAF, in Spain F-4C served until 2002, and Luftwaffe wrote off their last F-4FS 29 on June 2013. In Turkey and Greece, the modernized "Phantoms" still fly.
In 1998, the US Army MIM-72 Chaparral was replaced by the mobile air defense system M1097 Avenger in the US Army. It was created using existing chassis and missiles. On the basis of the HMMWV (“Hummer”) car, there are two transport-launch containers for the 4 FIM-92 Stinger missiles with a combined infrared / UV GOS and anti-aircraft machine gun of the 12,7-mm caliber. The range of destruction of air targets - 5,5 km, height of destruction - 3,8 km. Detection of airborne targets is carried out by an optoelectronic station, the distance to the target is determined by a laser range finder. On the range of defeat, the Evenge is somewhat inferior to the Chaparrel air defense system, but at the same time it is much simpler and more reliable.
Compared to 1991, in the 3st century, the combat strength of the fighter aircraft of NATO countries has decreased significantly. The same can be said about the SAM. The most modern complexes on combat duty in Western Europe are the American Patriot PAC-XNUMX. As of today, they are available in Germany, Greece, Holland, Spain and Turkey.
Turkey a few years ago organized a tender for the purchase of long-range air defense systems. The winner in it was the Chinese FD-2000 (HQ-9), but under pressure from the United States, the results of the competition were disavowed, and the American Patriot missile system was imposed on the Turks. Currently, several Patriot batteries are installed at positions along the Turkish-Syrian border and in the Bosphorus region. At the same time, some Patriot batteries use the infrastructure of the Nike-Hercules air defense system previously available in Turkey. Apparently, this part of the batteries is serviced by Turkish calculations, and the other part is under the direct control of the US military. Thus, two batteries were transferred from Western Europe to protect the American airbase Inzherlik.
In general, the number of long-range anti-aircraft systems in Europe, operated by the US military, has been greatly reduced. The tasks of air defense of US facilities in Germany and military contingents stationed here are assigned to the Patriot air defense system of the PAC-3 10 command of the US Air Defense and Missile Defense (AAMDC). Currently in Germany on an ongoing basis are on duty 4 ADMS. But often, in order to save money, anti-aircraft batteries were on short duty, only 2-3 launchers were in positions.
NATO air defense (NATINADS) is divided into two zones: "North" (operational center Ramstein, Germany) and "South" (operational center Naples, Italy). The borders of the zones coincide with the borders of the regional commands of the North and South bloc. The northern air defense zone extends to Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Norway. The southern air defense zone controls the territory of Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Turkey, part of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. NATO air defense closely cooperates with the American NORAD, with the national air defense systems of France, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, warships of the 6th fleet USA in the Mediterranean Sea. The NATO air defense system in the information plan relies on a network of stationary, mobile and ship radars and AWACS aircraft AWACS systems based on airfields in the UK, Germany and France. In addition to defense purposes, the NATINADS system is used to control the movement of civil aircraft. So, only in the territory of Germany two dozen radar posts are constantly operating. Mainly, these are stationary dual-purpose radars also used by civilian dispatch services, as well as mobile radars: AR 327, TRS 2215 / TRS 2230, AN / MPQ-64, GIRAFFE AMB, M3R centimeter and decimeter ranges. The greatest capabilities are possessed by the French radar GM406F and the American AN / FPS-117.
Both stations allow you to control the airspace at a distance of 400-450 km, can operate in difficult jamming conditions and detect tactical ballistic missiles. In 2005, in France, 100 km from Paris, the NOSTRADAMUS over-the-horizon radar was put into operation, capable of detecting high-altitude and medium-altitude targets at a distance of up to 2000 km.
The end of the confrontation between the USA and the USSR led to the termination of the implementation of a number of advanced weapons programs. In the 90s, the only joint US-Norwegian project NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) was brought to the stage of practical implementation.
The NASAMS air defense system, developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace in conjunction with the American Raytheon, uses an AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missile adapted for ground use with an active radar seeker. Deliveries to the troops of the NASAMS complex began in the late 90s. The slant range of destruction of the NASAMS air defense system is about 25 km, the height is about 10 km. Initially, the complex was created as a means of object air defense with the ability to quickly relocate, to replace the aging Khok air defense system. In the 2000s, a mobile version of NASAMS-2 appeared. It is reported that in 2019 it is planned to begin deliveries of an upgraded version with a launch range of 45-50 km and an altitude reach of 15 km. At the moment, the NASAMS air defense system in NATO, in addition to Norway, is used by the armed forces of the United States and Spain.
France until the middle of 90-x pursued an independent policy of military construction. But in this country there was no medium and long-range air defense systems on permanent combat duty, and the country's air defense was provided by fighter jets. However, from time to time during exercises near the important centers of industry, energy and military air bases and on previously prepared positions, the deployment of the low-range air defense system Crotale-NG takes place. Serial production of the Crotale-NG began in 1990. In contrast to the first options, thanks to the achievements in the field of miniaturization of electronics, all elements of the complex are located on one chassis.
SAM can be placed on a wheeled or tracked platform. The chassis of all-wheel drive heavy army trucks, the M113 armored personnel carrier or tank AMX-30V. The complex is completely autonomous in the process of detection until the destruction of an air target, and unlike the early versions, Krotal does not need external target designation. The range of the Crotale-NG is from 500 to 10000 meters, height - 15-6000 meters. However, despite the significantly increased characteristics, the updated Krotal was not widely used, and the volume of orders due to international detente was reduced several times. In addition to the armed forces of France, Crotale-NG in NATO is still in Greece.
The VT1 rocket, part of the Crotale-NG air defense system, is also used in the updated German military complex Roland-3. The new Roland-3 rocket compared to the Roland-2 rocket has an increased flight speed and range of air targets. In Germany, the ZRK is installed on the chassis of the 10-ton MAN off-road truck (8x8). The air-transportable version of the towed semi-trailer for the rapid deployment forces received the designation Roland Carol, it was adopted in the 1995 year. In the Air Force of Germany for the protection of airfields used 11 air defense system "Roland-3". French expeditionary and airborne forces have 20 complexes in the version of Roland Carol.
To combat aircraft and helicopters operating at low altitudes, the German self-propelled air defense system of the modular design "Ozelot", also known as ASRAD, is intended. As a means of destruction in the air defense system, Stinger or Mistral missiles are used.
The complex can be mounted on various wheeled or tracked chassis. In the case of placement on a compact chassis BMD "Wiesel-2" three-coordinate radar detection HARD installed on another machine. The combat vehicle of the Ozelot air defense missile system has its own means of detection - a television camera and an infrared detector. To determine the range of the equipment includes a laser rangefinder. LAW "Ozelot" entered service in the 2001 year, all in the Bundeswehr delivered 50 complexes. More 54 cars on the wheel chassis "Hummer" bought Greece.
In the 90-2000 years in France, Italy, Great Britain and Germany, attempts were made to create advanced anti-aircraft systems. This is due both to the need to replace the aging American complexes created during the Cold War, and to the desire to support their own industry. In 2000, at the Asian Aerospace exhibition in Singapore, the French VL MICA air defense system was demonstrated. It uses air-to-air MICA UR. The complex is short-range compact and high efficiency. The structure of the air defense system includes four self-propelled launchers, a command post and a radar detection.
Depending on the combat situation, missiles with an active pulse-Doppler radar homing head (MICA-EM) or thermal imaging (MICA-IR) can be used. The maximum firing range is 20 km, the maximum height of targets hit is 10 km.
A few years ago, SAMP-T began to test. This anti-aircraft system was created by three European states: France, Italy and Great Britain. The project envisaged the creation of a universal system based on Aster 15 / 30 missiles, capable of fighting both aerodynamic and ballistic targets. The design and testing of the system lasted more than 20 years, and the long-range ground-based ZRS program was repeatedly threatened with closure.
The SAMP-T ZRS is in many ways a direct competitor to the American Patriot, and the Americans put pressure to curtail the creation of a European anti-aircraft system. The control firing in 2011-2014 demonstrated the ability of the SAMP-T to destroy air targets at a range of 100 km, at an altitude of 25 km and intercept tactical missiles at a range of 35 km. The anti-aircraft system is in trial operation since 2011. Currently, there are several SAMP-T batteries in the armed forces of France and in Italy, but they do not carry constant combat duty.
A more sophisticated and expensive anti-aircraft system is the MEADS. This program involves companies from Germany, Italy and the United States. Two types of missiles are expected to be used in the MEADS air defense system: IRIS-T SL and PAC-3 MSE. The first is the ground version of the German UR "air-to-air" melee of the IRIS-T, the second is the upgraded version of the PAC-3 rocket. The anti-aircraft battery includes a circular radar, two fire control vehicles and six mobile launchers with 12 missiles. However, the prospects of MEADS air defense systems are still vague, only the US has already spent more than 1,5 billion dollars on this program. According to the declared advertising characteristics, the new air defense and missile defense system will be able to hit both airplanes and tactical ballistic missiles with a range of up to 1000 kilometers. Initially, MEADS was created to replace the Patriot air defense system. Currently, the anti-aircraft system is in the process of debugging and control tests. As expected, the final decision on the MEADS AAMS will be made in 2018.
In the UK there are only short-range anti-aircraft systems. In the middle of the 90-x, the British anti-aircraft units began to receive a deeply modernized towed air defense system "Rapier-2000". Compared with the early versions of this family, the Rapier-2000 has significantly increased capabilities to combat the air enemy. The launch range of the Mk.Xnumx missile system has increased to 2 m, in addition, the number of missiles on the launcher has doubled to eight units. Thanks to the introduction of the Dagger radar into the air defense system, it became possible to simultaneously detect and lead to 8000 targets. The computer connected with the radar distributes and fires targets depending on the degree of their danger. The new radar guidance Blindfire-75 has greater noise immunity and reliability. An optoelectronic guidance system is used in a difficult jamming environment or when the anti-radar missiles are threatened with anti-radar missiles. It accompanies the missiles on tracer and gives the coordinates to the calculator. With the use of tracking radar and optical means simultaneous shelling of two air targets is possible.
In the British army air defense units used self-propelled short-range anti-aircraft systems Starstreak SP with laser-guided. LAW Starstreak SP can be installed on a variety of wheel and tracked chassis. In the British army, the Stormer tracked armored vehicle was chosen as the base for an anti-aircraft self-propelled unit. Search and maintenance of air targets is carried out by the passive infrared system ADAD.
The ADAD optoelectronic system detects a helicopter at a distance of 8 km, and a fighter - 15 km. The range of destruction of Starstreak SP air targets is 7000 meters, but when it rains or fog, when the transparency of the air falls, it can be reduced several times. The use of missiles of the relatively compact Starstrike complex allowed a significant reduction in the cost of developing a British air defense system, and its own passive optoelectronic search system expanded the possibilities for detecting airborne targets.
The peculiarity of the Starstrike missile system is that after the missile exits the TPC, a sustainer, or more correctly, the booster engine runs for a very short time, accelerating the warhead to a speed of more than 3,5M. After that, three arrow-shaped combat elements are automatically separated, each with a mass of 900 g. After the boom's booster block has been shot, the trajectory flies by inertia and is located a triangle around the laser beam. The distance in flight between the "arrows" is 1,5 m. Each arrow-shaped combat element is aimed at the target individually by two laser-scanning space beams. Laser radiation is generated by an impact unit, one of the beams is projected in the vertical, and the other in the horizontal planes. This principle of pointing is known as the “laser path”. The armor penetration capability of the Starstreak combat element roughly corresponds to the 40-mm armor-piercing projectile, it is able to penetrate the frontal armor of the Soviet BMP-1.
In 2000-ies, in France, the naval and air forces received a new multi-purpose fighter, Dassault Rafale, and deliveries of the Eurofighter Typhoon began in the German, Italian, Spanish and British air forces. Initially, France and other leading European countries created a new fighter jointly. However, later the views of the parties on what should be a new combat aircraft, diverged, and France officially withdrew from the consortium. However, this did not prevent large French capital from continuing to participate in the Eurofighter project. Fighter "Typhoon" is the brainchild of the consortium Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems and EADS. Currently, the NATO Air Force has more than 400 fighter jets, Eurofighter Typhoon, and around 150 Rafale in France. Simultaneously with the start of deliveries of the 4 generation fighter jets, the Fantom and Tornado fighter-interceptors were written off.
Currently, the NATO Air Force in Europe has about 1600 combat aircraft capable of performing air defense missions. However, the real combat value of these machines is not the same. Along with the American F-15C, based on the Leikenhit airbase in the UK, F-16 of various modifications, constituting about half of the aircraft fleet of NATO air forces, modern "Typhoon", "Rafal" and "Gripen", there are many frankly outdated: F-4, F-5, MiG-21, and early series in need of repair and modernization of the MiG-29.
About the same motley is the park SAM. At the time of the collapse of the “Eastern bloc” in the countries of the Warsaw Pact, without taking into account the Soviet air defense, there were about 200 stationary positions of the C-125, C-75 and C-200 air defense missile systems. If the C-75 and C-125 SAMs came to the USSR allies from the middle-end of the 60-s, then the C-200 long-range ADMS were exported to Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, Poland and Czechoslovakia from the second half of the 80-s. After the “triumph of democracy”, the countries of Eastern Europe began to feverishly get rid of the “totalitarian heritage”. Most of the anti-aircraft systems have been hastily "utilized" for several years.
However, low-altitude C-125 remained in Poland. Moreover, the Poles have modernized them, placing the launchers on the chassis of the T-55 tanks. The Polish version received the designation "Newa SC". In parallel, in the Polish air defense units, several batteries of the American Advanced Hawk air defense systems are being used to protect against the “Russian threat”. During the construction of the national Vistula air defense system in Poland, it is planned to purchase AN / FPS-117 US RADS and Patriot PAC-3 radar systems in Poland.
In addition to low-altitude C-125 with solid-propellant missiles in a number of NATO countries, until recently, they operated C-75 air defense systems with missiles that require refueling with liquid fuel and an oxidizer. The most unique in this respect was Albania, where until 2014, the country's airspace was guarded by the NQ-2 air defense system (Chinese clone C-75). Until now, in Romania, the approaches to Bucharest are protected by the Soviet Volkhov C-75М3 air defense system.
Shortly before the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia received one anti-aircraft missile division of the S-300PMU each. After the “divorce” with the Czech Republic, the C-XNUMPPMU departed to Slovakia. In the same place, the last NATO Kvadrat air defense systems (export version of the Kub military air defense system) were exploited until 300. According to the latest information, the Slovak C-2015PMU is in need of repair and modernization, and does not carry constant combat duty. Recently it became known that Slovak officials raised this issue during their visit to Moscow. Bulgarian C-XNUMPPMU is still in working condition and on a permanent basis protects the capital of Bulgaria - Sofia. However, due to the fact that its service life already exceeds 300 years, the Bulgarian C-300 will require repair and modernization in the very near future.
In 1999, Greece became the owner of the C-300PMU-1, while at the time modern ZRS were delivered to a country that is a member of NATO. Although initially stated that the buyer of the Russian anti-aircraft systems is Cyprus. The Bulgarian and Greek C-XNUMPPMU / PMU-300 repeatedly participated in NATO military exercises. At the same time, the main emphasis on the exercises was not on countering the means of air attack, but on working out methods of dealing with anti-aircraft systems of Soviet and Russian production. In addition to long-range and medium-range systems and complexes, in a number of NATO countries, in the units of military air defense there are mobile air defense systems: Strela-1, Osa and Thor. Taking into account the recently aggravated international relations and the sanctions imposed on Russia for the supply of spare parts for them, the repair and maintenance of these anti-aircraft complexes is problematic.
A detailed review of the NATO air defense structure in Europe draws attention to the apparent imbalance between the defensive anti-aircraft systems and fighter aircraft. Compared with the times of the Soviet-American confrontation, the number of air defense systems in the NATO countries has been reduced significantly. At the moment, the emphasis in the provision of air defense is on multi-purpose fighters, while almost all "clean" interceptor fighters have been removed from service. This means that in the North Atlantic Alliance there was a rejection of the defensive doctrine of air defense and an emphasis was placed on combating air targets as far as possible from their own concealed objects. At the same time, fighters assigned to fight an airborne enemy are able to effectively carry out strike missions and even be carriers of tactical nuclear weapons. weapons. This approach can only be effective in the event of gaining air superiority, which, along with NATO's eastward expansion, is of great concern to Russia.
Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.