Russia condemns NATO’s maneuvers in the Arctic as provocative

Russia condemns NATO’s maneuvers in the Arctic as provocative

Russia reacts to the incoming Operation BALTOPS 2020 in the Baltic Sea, censuring NATO’s activities as unfriendly.

On June 1, 2020, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff (MOD GS) of the Russian Armed Forces, presented a briefing on the situation of military activity of the United States and its NATO allies near the Russian borders.

“The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation constantly monitors and records the high level of military activity of the United States and its NATO allies near our borders,” said Sergey Rudskoy.

Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy noted that despite the spread of new coronavirus infection, there is a significant increase in the number of combat training activities of NATO troops, which would have a clear anti-Russian focus. The largest of them was the “Defender of Europe 2020” series of exercises.

“Let me remind you that they provided for the transfer of a contingent of US troops from the continental United States to Europe. The US planned to use more than 28,000 troops, 287 tanks, 449 armored personnel carriers, and 9 5 helicopters in the exercises. – said the head of MOD GS. Another 17 countries scheduled to deploy their contingents of troops, he added.

Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy Sergei Rudskoy emphasized that the concentration of NATO exercises is anti-Russian. For example, he observed that on the eve of May 9, 2020, were planned NATO amphibious operations in the Baltic states and the Caucasus. Trials did not happen only because of the quarantine measures.

According to the Chief of MOD GS, almost all combat training tasks happened near the Russian borders. Also, Rudskoy said that in preparation for “Defender of Europe 2020”, attempts were made to evade the provisions of the Vienna document by splitting an extensive exercise into smaller ones and involving neutral states in maneuvers.

The Chief of MOD GS of the Russian Armed Forces also added that the activity of the US air and naval forces and their allies near the Russian borders had increased sharply. He stressed that in April, a B-1B strategic bomber aircraft flew along the Kamchatka peninsula.

During May, Russians recorded five such flights; on May 6-over the territory of Estonia and the Baltic sea, on May 11 – over Lithuania and the Baltic sea, on May 20 — over Sweden and Norway, on May 22 —near the Kamchatka peninsula, on May 29 — over Ukraine and the Black sea. Noticeably, B-1B bombers appeared over Ukraine for the first time.

“During these flights, US planes were approaching the border of the Kaliningrad region at a distance of up to 10 km,” said Sergey Rudskoy. He maintained that Russian Air Defense systems always detected US strategic bombers on time, started continuous monitoring, and applied measures to prevent incidents. In total, were performed seven air defense fighters’ missions. Besides, anti-aircraft missiles were ready for immediate action.

Additionally, the Chief of MOD GS of the Russian Armed Forces noted that NATO’s activities are becoming more active in the Arctic. For the first time since the end of the “Cold War”, in the Barents Sea, a detachment of warships of the united naval forces of NATO held training. It consisted of three US DDG destroyers, which are the basis of the maritime component of the European segment of the global US missile defense system.

Also, the exercises involved a nuclear-powered submarine and a universal supply transport of the US Navy, as well as the British Navy’s DDG frigate. During the maneuvers, were worked out the tasks of hitting objects on the territory of the Russian Federation and intercepting Russian ballistic missiles.

“We regard such actions as provocative, even though the US side has notified these ships in the Barents Sea in the shortest possible time.”

Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff (MOD GS) of the Russian Armed Forces.

Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy also outlined that the Russian Northern fleet promptly detected NATO ships’ deployment. Russian navy’s reaction would have prevented incidents and showed the resolve of the Russian Federation to defend its interests in the Arctic.

“The intensity of aerial reconnaissance in the Baltic, Black and eastern part of Mediterranean seas has also increased. Over the past month, ten reconnaissance aircraft have flown over the Baltic and six over the Black Sea. Also, over the territory of Georgia, a US RQ-4B strategic reconnaissance drone was detected”, Colonel-General Sergey Rudskoy added.

Over the eastern Mediterranean, the US Navy Poseidon reconnaissance planes routinely approached the Russian military bases in Hmeymim and Tartus, in Syria.

“To prevent their aggressive reconnaissance actions, we are forced to raise the duty fighters in the air. If in April there were seven such cases, in May there were already 17. In other words, it has increased more than twice” the Chief of MOD GS of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation affirmed. “We regard such flights as contrary to the signed agreements on preventing incidents in Syrian airspace,” he added.

Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy stressed that such actions by the United States and its allies, hiding behind a far-fetched threat of “Russian aggression”, continue to undermine the existing security system in Europe.

“A significant increase in NATO military activity near the Russian borders was noted against the background of a possible American withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty and earlier steps taken by Washington to destroy the INF Treaty,” said the Chief of MOD GS of the Russian Armed Forces.

Sergei Rudskoy stressed that work continues to build up the ABM infrastructure in Poland in addition to the US-deployed facility in Romania. Nevertheless, Russian alarm regarding the possible deployment of Tomahawk cruise missiles at these bases remain.

Also, according to Russia, the Globus-3 radar station in Northern Norway, in the village of Vardo, is continuing to update its missile defense capabilities and increase its capabilities to monitor the interior of the Russian territory.

“In turn, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has always adhered to a course aimed at building a constructive dialogue with NATO,” said Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy.

According to Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy, when the world is countering the spread of new coronavirus infection, it is necessary to lessen the level of confrontation, to abstain from aggressive actions and demonstration of force.

“During high-level bilateral contacts with the leadership of NATO, we repeatedly discussed issues of preventing incidents in the military sphere and reducing the intensity of training activities conducted near our borders,” said the Chief of MOD GS of the Russian Armed Forces.

According to Russian MOD, were ignored proposals to reduce military tension and prevent incidents suggested in a message from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Russia asserts its determination to continue the course towards de-escalation of the situation in Europe. According to Russian MOD, this year, the Russian Armed Forces will not organize large-scale exercises near the borders of NATO member countries and moved inland drills planned in the framework of the Caucasus-2020 strategic command practice.

For the next years, Russia proposes to regulate the areas of the exercises on a parity basis with NATO. To prevent sensitive incidents during aircraft and naval operations, the Russian Army suggests agreeing on standard rules to set the minimum distance of the approach of aircraft and ships, as well as the interaction between crews.

Russia ostensibly ascribes fundamental importance to the actual application of the agreement on the reciprocal use of transponders when flying combat airplanes in the Baltic. It looks forward to the NATO countries for reasonable resolutions on this matter.

The Russian Armed Forces will monitor NATO military activity near the Russian borders to take timely measures to guarantee the security of the Russian Federation and prevent confrontations, concluded Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy.

Russian Armed Forces released the situation report a week ahead of the start of BALTOPS 2020, NATO’s 49th exercise in the Baltic Sea. To display Russian naval strength in the area, the newest frigate of the project 22350 “Admiral of the fleet Kasatonov” recently completed her test series performing anti-torpedo firing. In the Baltic Sea, the ship’s crew verified the protection of the frigate operating an anti-torpedo device, the small-sized anti-submarine complex “Paket.”

Throughout the trials, the small anti-submarine vessel (SAS) “Aleksin” of the Baltic Fleet attacked the frigate with a training torpedo. According to Russian sources, the “Kasatonov” successfully repelled the torpedo attack firing an anti-torpedo from the anti-submarine system “Paket.”

Previously, the Russian newest large landing ship (LLS) “Peter Morgunov” performed artillery firing in the Baltic Sea.

George Costa

George Costa is a reporter specialized in defence and security systems. He covers international defence and security issues, such as international conflicts, WMD proliferation, and cybersecurity, as well as news reporting on developments in the global defence community.