Ukraine's NATO Member Neighbors To Boost Air Force Presence

Tyler Durden's picture

As the big questions surrounding the future of the Ukraine crisis persist, the countries neighboring the former communist nation, and especially the Baltic states which are members of NATO, are asking for safeguards should Russian ambitions end up just a little too big to be contained solely by the Ukraine. As a result, the WSJ reports they are considering calling for a greater North Atlantic Treaty Organization presence in their countries “if the situation gets worse” in the Ukraine, Ojars Kalnins, the chairman of the foreign-affairs committee of the Latvian parliament, said Monday. Mr. Kalnins said that a worsening of the Ukraine crisis “such as an outright invasion” of areas outside Crimea would present a threat to all of Russia’s neighbors, including the Baltic states–which are members of NATO. Such an expanded conflict should be reason for NATO to “bring extra military support to the Baltic region as a safeguard.”

From the WSJ:

Atis Lejins, a member of the Latvian parliament’s foreign-affairs committee, said increasing the number of NATO aircraft patrolling Baltic airspace could be one way to beef up NATO’s presence.


Currently a small, rotating contingent of fighter aircraft from NATO countries operates from a base in Lithuania. Mr. Lejins, a former U.S. Marine, said one example of a heightened presence was the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment (AV Det) program in Poland, which rotates fighter and transport units to bases in Poland.


Critics of an increased NATO presence say that costs to both Latvia and NATO could be a hurdle to expanding air patrols. Increased  air patrols would upgrade the NATO presence in all three countries because aircraft cover the airspace of all three Baltic countries.


Mr. Kalnins spoke after a joint meeting of the Saeima’ s Foreign Affairs and European Affairs committees that condemned Russia’s incursion into Crimea and called for European Union and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)  observers to be sent to the Ukraine.


He spoke on Monday at the same time as the Lithuanian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and National Security and Defence Committee passed a resolution condemning Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and the occupation of the territory of Ukraine. The Lithuanian resolution also called on the North Atlantic Council to temporarily redeploy NATO military forces to its “eastern part, including the Baltic states.”

One country which may have already acted in this regard is Poland. According to Dziennik Wschodni, earlier today F-16 fighter jets could be seen above the Polish town of Lublin and other towns of the province.  "Military jets appeared over our region between the hours of 2 and 3 pm. Our Internet users say that they heard the roar of the engines also in the morning."

"One of the aircraft from our base flew the route from Lublin to Krakow" confirms Cpt. Marek Kwiatek, Press Officer of the 32nd Tactical Air Base at Lask.



The second aircraft came probably from a base in Krzesiny. There were also questions whether the flights are connected with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - This is the stadard of training, which are held throughout the country. Pilots among others support this so-called. habits flights - explains Cpt. Flower. He adds that the aircraft is on standby.

So more drills or something more? Recall that Russia commenced a massive "drill" last week in the West and Central regions before it quite demonstratively invaded the Crimea. It is only logical that the countries that stand to lose the most from an expansion of the Russian invasion match that drill with "drills" of their own.

Finally, recall that as we reported in December, Russia then had positioned tactical, nuclear-capable missiles along the Polish border. Based on this, and Poland's recent history with friendly and not so friendly neighbors, one can see why the Baltic nation would be very nervous.

From December 2013:

Russia Stations Tactical, Nuclear-Capable Missiles Along Polish Border

2013 was a year when Europe tried to reallign its primary source of natgas energy, from Gazpromia to Qatar, and failed. More importantly, it was a year in which Russia's Vladimir Putin undisputedly won every foreign relations conflict that involved Russian national interests, to the sheer humiliation of both John Kerry and Francois Hollande. However, it seems the former KGB spy had a Plan B in case things escalated out of control, one that fits with what we wrote a few days ago when we reported that "Russia casually announces it will use nukes if attacked." Namely, as Bloomberg reports citing Bild, Russia quietly stationed a double-digit number of SS-26 Stone, aka Iskander, tactical, nuclear-capable short-range missiles near the Polish border in a dramatic escalation to merely verbal threats issued as recently as a year ago.

The range of the Iskander rockets:

From Bloomberg:

  • Russia has stationed missiles with a range of about 500 kilometers in its Kaliningrad enclave and along its border with the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Germany’s Bild-Zeitung reports, citing defense officials it didn’t identify.
  • Satellite images show a “double-digit” amount of mobile units identified as SS-26 Stone in NATO code
  • Missiles were stationed within the past 12 months
  • SS-26 can carry conventional as well as nuclear warheads

In other words, Russia quietly has come through on its threat issued in April 2012, when it warned it would deploy Iskander missiles that could target US missile defense systems in Poland. From RIA at the time:

Moscow reiterated on Tuesday it may deploy Iskander theater ballistic missiles in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad that will be capable of effectively engaging elements of the U.S. missile defense system in Poland.


NATO members agreed to create a missile shield over Europe to protect it against ballistic missiles launched by so-called rogue states, for example Iran and North Korea, at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010.


The missile defense system in Poland does not jeopardize Russia’s nuclear forces, Army General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said. 


“However, if it is modernized…it could affect our nuclear capability and in that case a political decision may be made to deploy Iskander systems in the Kaliningrad region,” he said in an interview with RT television.


But that will be a political decision,” he stressed. “So far there is no such need.”

Looks like a little over a year later, the "political decision" was taken as the need is there. But why does Russia need to send a very clear message of escalation at a time when the Cold War is long over, when globalization and free trade, promote game theoretic world peace (or "piece" as the Obama administration wouldsay), oh, and when Russia quietly has decided to reestablish the former USSR starting with the Ukraine.

We'll leave the rhetorical question logically unanswered.

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Winston Churchill's picture

Spring 1914 at this rate.Itchy fingers, and miscalculation are very dangerous things.

Putin needs to wrap this up quickly.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Personally, looking at the Russian state's Debt:GDP ratio, I don't think he needs to actually do shit.  Besides, having those military folks visit many of their relatives may be a good thing.

In the end, people define boarders not the other way around.

Thought Processor's picture



This is called 'Setting the Stage.'

Chupacabra-322's picture

Two words come to mind when dealing with The Global Criminal Oligarch Cabal Bankster Intelligence Crime Syndicate,


max2205's picture

This is where this whole thing could get hairy. event gives an excuse to massively escalate

mjcOH1's picture

"This is called 'Setting the Stage.'"


I believe the French term is 'four pluie'.


kurt's picture

I don't know but they're too close to the action and can make it appear to come from anywhere.

I believe man's strength and undoing is his imagination.

If you see enemies, you see enemies. The next step is always imagining what he's doing. The rest flows from that.

john39's picture

ironic too, israel is constantly warning the world that religious fanatics should not be permitted to have nuclear weapons... 

Element's picture

US also strongly encourages fundamentalist Christian beliefs in missile forces and strategic air force personnel.

The fundies routinely control the bombs.



"Moscow reiterated on Tuesday it may deploy Iskander theater ballistic missiles in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad that will be capable of effectively engaging elements of the U.S. missile defense system in Poland."

When Moscow first announced Iskander may be deployed to Kaliningrad I immediately pointed-out that it can send a nuclear weapon into the lower ionosphere and use EMP to disable the sensors, communications and power systems of any missile-defense system in under a minute, then it can proceed to hit targets like airbases, ports, etc., as required.

The reason why Moscow was doing this was to GUARANTEE that Russian nuclear ballistic missiles would be able to hit western Europe. So no way were those Iskanders going to be conventionally armed.

Yet almost immediately a bunch of silly fools on zh insisted it only had conventional warhead capabilities. Ha, yeah, right, sure ... you fucking clowns (I won't name you, you know who you are).

Placing a weaponized missile-ready nuclear-warhead on Iskander was trivial for Russia, and they most certainly had that option already available, and absolutely everyone within NATO headquarters knew that straight away, and that was the message Putin was sending.

Only a starry-eyed fool would think those missiles were ever going to be conventionally-armed, when they were targeting a vast strategic missile defense complex.

Bloody idiots.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

This is called 'Setting the Stage.'

No it isn't.  It's more like "role playing" foreplay with your dick in your hand before masturbation!

NYPoke's picture

Shades of Dr. Strangelove.  Instead of 1 general on 1 side, it is leaders on both sides.


Beware the Doomsday Weapon.

agent default's picture

I don't think he wants to.  Unless the West recognizes that Russia has red lines of its own, I doubt Putin will deescalate this.

Cangaroo.TNT's picture

Such an expanded conflict should be reason for NATO to “bring extra military support to the Baltic region to accidentally get shot down or blown up” as a prestense to expand the conflict.

See how I brought that full circle?

Renewable Life's picture

OMG has Poland been invaded????? Where the Fuck is that story on CNBC??? 

Oh they havent been........then WTF are they talking about Article 4, for??? This has to be what it felt like in 1939, but today we don't have Theodore and Winston at the helm, and regardless of what you think about Roosevelt, the man looked stronger and more Presidential in a fucking wheel chair, then this current bunch of cronies do!!!!

Maybe Bammer, Harper, and Cameron can get together on an Aircraft carrier and take another "selfie" and twitter it out to the world, that should scare the shit outta Russia and China!

Lets just have Putin and Hu fist fight Bammer, Harper, and Cameron for the Batlics, and let all the young men live this time! The image that pops to mind is, Bruce Lee and Chick Norris fighting the Three Stooges, God Damn I'd pay $100 USD for that Pay Per View and the winners countries gets all the cash from the PPV too!

gmrpeabody's picture


All the usual suspects know who he's talking about.

Renewable Life's picture


Damn double posts! Sorry


MFLTucson's picture

100% Obamas fault.  He pulled our missiles from Poland and started the appeasing of these nuts. Mr. Cool, the first black President and his failed policies have now caused  US economic chaos  and  an enpending debt default along with his international failures de jour!

NoDebt's picture

Yeah, well he DID shoot a missile at the moon near the beginning of his presidency (no joke, he actually did).  You would think that would have sent a "strong message" to the rest of the world that we're not to be trifled with.  Perhaps not.

agent default's picture

100% US fault for trying to strangulate Russia with a totally unwarranted expansion of NATO, and a series of arbitrary unilateral actions, regime change experiments, nation building experiments,  fermenting and supporting rebellions... the list goes on and on and on...

Two can play this game.  US exceptionalism is a US fantasy.

Manthong's picture

The US was exceptional before the Fed, the 16th and 17th Amendments.

Right now, we are no better than the clowns running Kiev.

Rakshas's picture

Hmmmmm interesting.........


Edit: Is it just me or has the hypocrisy reached galactic proportions, the Anglo-Americunt-Eurotards are all broke despite their best efforts to steal yellow/black/brown peoples resources, peddle drugs to their own peoples then launder the money through wall street,  London, city of, fucking print money like there's no tomorrow so for a lot of us there will be and  .............. oh never mind I'm sure I'm just cranky and hungover ......... fuck fuck and double fuck



NoDebt's picture

I smell a military hardware stimulus plan!!

Rakshas's picture

'spose LLoyyd and Jamtart would help a brother out??


How about paying for foreign entanglements with a 10% transaction tax on all wall street Transactions  in conjunction with nationalizing the FED - that'd fuck the NeoNazi Cons up ...... maybe

Stoploss's picture

Hey, it's what the euro fascists want.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Unfortunately they are running out of suckers to actually do something about it.  Someone posted a monty python scene from the "Life of Brian" that was completely appropriate.  Wish I had the link.

LawsofPhysics's picture

When a nation is bankrupt (ethically and financially), they should be very careful with respect to how they spend their remaining capital and resources.

Tick tock motherfuckers...

NYPoke's picture

When a nation is bankrupt, they start a war.


When all nations are bankrupt...

LawsofPhysics's picture

Indeed, what is the global debt to GDP again?  Doesn't bode well for the average sheeple does it?

Lost Word's picture

Global debt, excluding the Banksters.

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ NYPoke,

"When all else fails, they take you to war."

-Gerald Celente.

optimator's picture

1914?  No war, machine gun made war obsolete.

2014 nuclear weapons make war obsolete.

Lost Word's picture

Nuclear weapons make nuclear war obsolete?

At least against a nuclear weapons power?

SilverTech's picture

In 1914 nobody said the machine gun made war obsolete. In 1914 they still thought massed cavalry charges were going to be effective.

All out war between Russia and US will quickly go nuclear. For one thing US forces are spread too thin and are crap anyway. US aircraft are obsolete, carriers are big bullseyes, US weapon systems are designed to make defense contractors rich.

The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world. Sounds indefensible to me. Supposedly they're tripwires. Well, what happens if they're tripped? Do we go nuclear right away? What other options are there?

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

I'm sure that this will calm things down, relieve tensions and make everyone feel at ease...

11b40's picture

Action, reaction.

Every action has a reaction.

Too bad our so-called leadership seems incapable of seeing in advance the likely reactions to their stupid geo-political actions.  Unbelievable amatuer moves.  Never let your mouth write a check your ass can't cash.

Cangaroo.TNT's picture

Is it OK to let your mouth write a check someone else's children can't cash?

Tracerfan's picture

Those NATO planes are going to be useless.  If they fly over Belarussian or Russian territory, they can be plucked out of the sky like a rubbie duckie is plucked from a bathtub.

Russia doesn't need to go beyond the Crimea and I don't believe it intends to, unless the Nazis in Kiev start killing Russians in East Ukraine, as they would like to do.

nightshiftsucks's picture

Really and what's going to pluck them out of the sky ?

gmrpeabody's picture

Sounds like you've placed your bets...

While I'm no fan of the direction this country has been headed since the D.C.clowns have been bought out, I don't desire a military conflict with the oligarch bunch who have been bought in Russia. And if it sadly came to that, I wouldn't sell our military men short as you apparently do.

I'll take the other side of that bet, if it pleases you.


nightshiftsucks's picture

Really so how do you know that those are effective,whoops you don't.Just another dumb fuck with no data.

JustObserving's picture
Ukraine's NATO Member Neighbors To Boost Air Force Presence

But will they dare to engage any Russian planes in combat?  Ukraine has been very wise in restricting all its troops to barracks.

It is turning out that it was a mistake to encourage the fascist putsch in Ukraine.  Maybe, McCain can lead the charge to displace the Russians out of Crimea given all his talk at the Maidan and his stellar record in Vietnam.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

No need for Russia to scramble jets, those S-300/ 400's have been deployed for a round or two of real-time Space Invaders in case ZATO's hubris prevails.

chubbar's picture

ZATO, Zionist Atlantic Treaty Organization. Catchy, I like it! I hope it catches on with the rest of the ZH lingo.

vic and blood's picture

If we do get into it with Russia, let's liberate East Prussia.

B.J. Worthy's picture

Meanwhile, back in rigged casino land, 3:30pm VIX smash makes its regularly scheduled appearance.