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.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
tony wilson's picture

listen scum i is polish sea

do not mock the pole

do not laugh at him

we are strong

nobody can paint and wallpaper a room as cheaply and as quick as the pole man.

we have the soros neo nazi ngo funding

we are ready to rocknroll

we have russia in are cross hairs

we can survive a nuclear hot attack


we will have no eyeballs or hair during a nuclear winter but we will build poland anew.

kurt's picture

tony normally so high and strategic, you make polish joke? I no lafing.

Lin S's picture

Poles were STUPID to get into bed with the US/EU/NATO.  The morons believe their own "first to fight" bull$#it but are too dumb to remember the "first to lose in epic fashion" that goes along with it.

Polish "peacekeeping" in Iraq will garner nothing for them from the US. 

In the end, Poland will be thrown under the bus, just like it was in 1939. 




buzzsaw99's picture

nato can do for ukraine what they did for poland. lulz

agent default's picture

They got into bed with Hitler.  Old habits die hard.

BraveSirRobin's picture

Poland was not thrown under the bus in WWII. The German invasion was the reason France and the UK went to war. It was unfortunate that the French leadership was so feckless at the time. When the Germans invaded Poland, they might have been able to occupy the Rhur and the greatest part of German industry at little cost. That would have been the only thing France and UK could have done militarily to affect the situation. It's a matter of geography. 

Lin S's picture

You failed your world history class, I see.  Pity.

Zadig's picture

The previous war had conditioned them that offensives were a bad idea.  It's a moot point since a major UK/France offensive wouldn't have stopped the Soviet invasion of Poland.

blackscorpi's picture

why, do they think vlad will miss his targets by a few hundred miles? fuck these warmongers, all of them!

AchtungAffen's picture

Let's hope nothing happens to Latvia, or else I'm gonna get screwed with my Stoli supply...

RSDallas's picture

This whole thing seems staged to me for some reason.  Almost as if these decisions were made and agreed to by all many months ago.

Chupacabra-322's picture

They were. At the highest Compartmentalized / Centralized levels they're all friends & "all in on it." Remember, Total Complete Full Spectrum World Domination is the goal as well as Global Genocide.

The Lucerferian Psycopaths believe they, & no one else is "Entitled" to the power structure & control over mankind. If they fear at any time that they may lose the power & control, The Sampson Option will result.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Are those F16 Biplanes?...

John McCloy's picture

  More Huff & Puff tactics. The only thing those planes will be doing is Blue Angel air shows. 

Lost Word's picture

F16's are Air Force.

Blue Angels are Navy.

buttmint's picture

Time is on Putin's side. He just has to wait and ratchet up the Hurt Index, petro prices. He has the goods, the valve and the political will to play winning chess. Obama has a shit hand and everyone knows it.

Buffoon Obama & Crew miscalculated. all going according to plan? Russia is engaged in a melodrama, China swipes a few countries and no one is talking about USD repudiation nor Fukushima.

Hmmmm? No easy ones here. Time to break the chess board out.

f16hoser's picture

In other news; Obama was noticed "Rolled-Up" in the Fetal position sobbing like a 3 year old child. Was over-heard mumbling "Mommy."

QQQBall's picture

Who won best picture at the Oscars?

DrData02's picture

Go USA.  Spend more money that you will borrow from the banksters.  Make them richer. 

earleflorida's picture

and the undisputed #2 NATO force behind the USSofA's is erdogan's turkey, whom btw... just got monkeyhammered by a proxy clusterfuck of homemade american jihadist...

 so, as clint eastwood would say,... u got the balls to go against this 357... go ahead, make my day, punk!

Invinciblehandaxe's picture

this is definitely interesting, i guess the nato nazis are gonna have a taught opponent

no nukes please, i live too close  to the clusterfuck this time

novictim's picture

Nato Nazi?

Talk about not having a clue.

Tracerfan's picture

A uni-polar world is dangerous.  U.S. and E.U. are both bankrupt, in more ways than one.  For them to try to expand now into the Russian front yard is incredibly stupid.

22winmag's picture

Be careful what you wish for.


NATO (why not just say America?) has a track record of bombing Christian nations and unilateral action that is umatched!

SDRII's picture

The US took up positions patrolling the baltic skies backjin january as part of normal rotations.

spinone's picture

When the AWACs and F-22's show up, you'll know its on LIKE DONKEY KONG!

Flying Wombat's picture

Russian Wargame Action; Putin Observes At Vyborg, Russia (Video Report)

Element's picture

hilarious, the graphic says Iskander has a range of 50 kilometers.

Villageidiot777's picture

Wikipedia says "400 km (Iskander-M) with a potential for extension to INF Treaty violation of the no-exceed-limit of 500 km." for range.

Element's picture

I know very well the details of Iskander, I was pointing out that the graphic above has an error in it, it says the 'Flight trajectory' is "50 km".

Flight trajectory describes an arc. They are saying that arc amounts to only 50km of track-distance flown.

I suspect thus is supposed to mean the apogee of flight trajectory reaches up to ~50 km altitude at max range.

This gives an idea of its relative potential effectiveness as a tactical nuclear EMP launch platform.

50km is 164,000 ft, and that does indeed make it into the range of altitudes in which localized intense EMP flux below a burst at that height produces useful EMP weapon effects to a useful tactical radius.

That is the point of this system, and the purpose its deployment in Kaliningrad.