NATO Builds Infrastructure For Permanent Military Presence Near Russia's Borders

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A group of about 50 combat engineers based at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown were deployed to Latvia on April 29 as part of Operation Reassurance. The mission is to build a town for 500 soldiers. According to commanding officer Lt.-Col. Chris Cotton, the installation will have «everything you would expect in a small town, from its kitchen to its quarters, its electrical distribution system, water distribution system, internet, gym facilities that would allow people to survive over the long term in Latvia». Obviously, this is an element of vast infrastructure to provide for a long-term commitment.

In early April, a US-led battle group of 1,350 soldiers for NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe arrived at its base near Orzysz in northeastern Poland. It took place just a few days after a NATO-Russia Council meeting took place on March 30. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the talks with Moscow «frank» and «constructive». Then the usual song and dance followed under the slogan of Russian threat.

British RAF fighters are scheduled to be stationed to Romania this May. In March the first of 800 UK troops arrived in Estonia supported by around 300 armed vehicles. Along with French and Danish forces they’ll be stationed there on what NATO leadership calls «rotational basis». In January, German and Belgian forces arrived in Lithuania near the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

The UK leads the Estonia Battlegroup while other NATO members are deploying forces to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as part of the bloc’s Enhanced Forward Presence battalion. All in all, 4,000 NATO troops with tanks, armored vehicles, air support, and high-tech intelligence centers deployed to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

In accordance with the fiscal year 2017 European Reassurance Initiative budget proposal, the US Army is reopening or creating five equipment-storage sites in the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and two locations in Germany.

Last September, the service began to assemble more Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) for permanent storage in Europe. Those stocks will be sufficient for another armored brigade to fall in on. The rotating brigade will bring its own equipment. The move will add hundreds of the Army’s most advanced weapons systems to beef up the US European Command’s combat capability. It will also free up an entire brigade’s worth of weapons currently being used by US forces training on the continent to enable more American troops to be rushed in on short notice.

An armored brigade combat team comprises about 4,200 troops and includes approximately 250 tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Paladin self-propelled howitzers, plus 1,750 wheeled vehicles. The proposed budget increase includes a $1.8bn outlay on 45,000 GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets to boost the precision strike capability.

Also last month, more than 1,200 troops from 12 countries, including the non-bloc participant Sweden, took part in two-week NATO military drills in Latvia dubbed Summer Shield. «This deployment is, of course, a threat to us», Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov said, arguing that the large-scale drills at Russia’s doorstep are bound to «gravely increase the risk of incidents». He vowed a proportionate response. «They always have one thing on their mind: the ‘Russian threat’ myth, ‘Russian aggression’ slander and endless mantras about the need to confront it collectively», the Russian Foreign Ministry said in March following a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting.

The Baltic States and Poland will have to shoulder the financial burden of maintaining the military facilities. The Baltic States incurred significant expenses in rebuilding Ämari and Zokniai airbases. For instance, Estonia has spent 70 million euros in three years to modernize and maintain Ämari airbase. The new base in Latvia built by Canadian engineers is also not a free lunch.

The buildup is viewed by Russia as a provocation and a threat to the entire region’s security and peace. The alliance is trying to whip up tensions in Europe to reinforce its relevance in the ever changing world. It needs a fictional enemy to keep it together.

The deployment breaches the Russia-NATO Founding Act (1997). By signing the document NATO pledged not to seek «additional permanent stationing of substantial ground combat forces» in the nations closer to Russia «in the current and foreseeable security environment». The argument that the forces are being deployed on temporary basis doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Each army combat unit has an operational cycle, including training events. It will inevitably hold exercises somewhere. The forces are training nowhere else but in the proximity of Russia’s borders.

The Canadian engineers are constructing nothing else but a town. The official used the term «town» in his statement. Towns are not built to enable army units to hold exercises and then go. A town for the military is an element of permanent infrastructure. Once the expenditure is approved, it means the living quarters and facilities are to remain in Latvia for many years.

The announced plans are nothing else but a permanent military presence of substantial forces. With the Founding Act invalid, the Russia-NATO military relationship will be left without a legal basis to go upon. The document has played a very important role in the relationship for 20 years. Now this fundamental document appears to be dead as a result of NATO’s provocative activities near the Russia’s territory. The war preparations greatly reduce European security and the chances for revival of constructive dialogue between Russia and NATO. It leads to the conclusion that the alliance is preparing for a new Cold War with unpredictable results.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Haus-Targaryen's picture

Why the fuck are they BUILDING a town?  That part of Poland is filled with beautiful old towns about that size with more or less no-one there? 

The U.S. and Canadian governments are run by complete morons. 

Idaho potato head's picture

Not a "town" a forward strike position.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Also, correct city name is Arys.

A forward strike position with 500 people ... against the Russians in Königsberg with what .... 200,000 soldiers? 

If Putin gave the order right now, you'd have Russian tanks in Warsaw by Friday. 500 soldiers wouldn't do dick. 

Its a low-budget provocation. Nothing more or less. 

securitized-debt's picture

she was a waitress in a cocktail bar now she owns a jet...

Haus-Targaryen's picture

You're a mouth breather and I wish your mother had believed in abortion. 

BorisTheBlade's picture


An old lady walks the street, sees a gang methodically punching a guy.

- OL: Boys, for the love of God, what are you doing? Please stop it!

- Hang: Carry on, lady, we caught spammer.

- OL: Stop punching, start kicking!


Manthong's picture

May I offer you a brick?


A waste of F’n time and money.

Were it not for the F’n Western Neo-Nazi MSM, the American people would see there is no constructive use for NATO.

And those permanent bases will prove to be transitory (word seems to be back in vogue now) if push ever comes to shove with Russia.


Ghordius's picture

it's called a "trip wire", in diplomatic/military jargon

quadraspleen's picture

"it's called a "trip wire", in diplomatic/military jargon"

And a dick move on Civvy Street

philipat's picture

So who is the aggressor? What aggressive actions has Russia taken against any European country. Ghordius will use Ukraine as an example but we all know that it was a US coup in Ukraine which overthrew a democtratically elected Government in favour of a neo-nazi, anti-Russian regimen. Orchestrated, of course, by Victoria ("Fuck the EU") Nuland, probably acting on instructions from her husband Kagan. In these circumstances, it was incomprehensible that Russia would desert its own people in the East of the country and in Crimea (Which has historically been a part of Russia) whose people exercised a right of self-determination to vote almost unanimously to return to Russia. So not a very good example The other example he will use is The Baltic States; but even there it seems that we are talking about paranoia because I am not aware of a single act of provocation by Russia and it is clear that Russia has no designs on taking The Baltics back into Russia.

Then there is the "demand" of Washington that before sanctions can be lifted against Russia (which hurt only the EU and have forced Russia to make some very important strategic adjustments to its economy which will serve it very well in the longer-term), Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine (And surrender its only warm water naval base). Which is a bit like demanding The US should return Texas to Mexico.

So, again, who is the aggressor here?

Ghordius's picture

the whole purpose of a "trip wire" is to make an agression too costly

so "trip wire" yes... aggression no

now, why exactly should that "trip wire" not be there?

meanwhile, at the last G7 it was the US and the UK's foreign secretaries that asked for more sanctions against Russia

the answer from the French, German and Italian foreign ministers were "non", "nein" and "no"

we could, of course, be already having a very detailed discussion about Russians living in the Baltic Republics. it would, of course, require us to go beyond the simple ever-returning facts and stop having discussions about propagandistic half-lies which take up so much place here and elsewhere

so, again, there is no aggressor, here. so no "trip wire" triggering, and yes, that's a good thing. it's called peace

BarkingCat's picture

So what do they do if the native population is thr one that attacks them?

In the Baltic countries there is a sizable minority of ethnic Russians. They could start imitating those from the Donetsk region.

In Poland and Bulgaria they are probably happy to see US forces,  but in Poland they will not be if the Germans get stationed there.

As much as they like seeing US forces that could change quickly when niggers and spicks behave like niggers and spics. The US military is full of them. The kind of shit they have pulled in Germany or Japan will get them killed there.

There are still a lot of people in both countries that are favorable towards Russia, especially in Bulgaria.


Ghordius's picture

so you want to discuss a full civil war scenario? in that case, they would have to get out of that, wouldn't they?

now, are you talking about "Irredentists"? Russian ethnic people taking up arms and fighting for a Return To Mother Russia?

what would the Rodina and it's Duma say to that? "Please, do not" or "Mother wants to embrace you"? It kind of matters, you know?

Irredentism is nothing new, in Europe. It fuelled plenty of wars, in the past

our recipy, so far, has been... the EU. makes Irredentism kind of very much less relevant

(I'd suggest you take out those side remarks about "spics and niggers" out of the comment if you wish to be engaged in a serious conversation about geopolitics. it is kind of distracting)

Long memory man's picture

Remember the Charge of the Light brigade?, Crimea? Russian Guns. No such place as Ukraine always been Russian til Kruschev gave it over as her liked his holidays in Black sea etc.

Who in his right mine sees Putin as an agressor? he is the only statesman in town.


NATO has become really BAD news

philipat's picture

Ghordius has a short memory when it comes to admitting the stupidity and aggression of US/NATO Policy. It is clear from the MSM (References too numerous to mention) that the recent (Last 2 years) NATO war games and troop deployments, plus of course the deployment of the "Defensive" missile shiled along the Russian Border (All to prrotect against the non-existent Iranian threat to Europe you know) have all been billed as responses to Russian aggression.

Now, I know you are just defending your place at the feeding trough that is Brussels Ghordius but please don't insult the intelligence of ZH readers by denying that it is US Policy which is aggressive, not Russia. If you care to argue otherwise please produce evidence of this so-called Russian aggression that all these measures were supposedly taken in response to?

Haus-Targaryen's picture

So basically, Canada and the U.S. take 500 of their own guys to stick in a foreign country, in case another nation wants to invade the country we put our people in. 

These people are not there to actually do anything except to die when/if it kicks off.  Then Canada/US can report "500 American Servicemen killed by Russian aggression" and have pictures of little kicks and cute pregnant women crying and mourning the deaths of their loved ones, when their death is exactly why there were put there in the first place.  

This is more or less what you are saying? 

God bless the USA.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Dick is a country of high democracy.

Joe A's picture

Military men (and whole populations actually) are expendable to serve the interest of a happy few. Always been and always will.

JohninMK's picture

The strategy runs much deeper than that.

These armed units being stationed in these countries are notionally there to stop a Russian invasion that most of us here probably believe that there isn't a bat in hells chance of that happening. However, there is a chance of the political groupings in these countries becoming friendlier with Russia, especially if the US economy nosedives under the debt load that the Russian economy does not bear. Most of us here would probably agree that the chances of the latter are probably higher than the former.

So, if you were in DC and your gaming projected this outcome, wouldn't it make an aweful lot of sense to have your occupation force already pre-positioned to give that countries' politicians a little 'backbone'. Bit like Germany/Japan/S Korea since WW2 in a way.

ebear's picture

A good observation, to which I'll add one of my own.

The present effort to encircle Russia is a page out of the old Cold War playbook, i.e. force the USSR to devote scarce resources to defense to the detriment of the civilian sector, thus creating internal dissent and the eventual demise of communism.  It worked too, and was almost a slam-dunk until Putin came along.

I don't think it works this time around.  Economic sanctions have had the effect of weakening European economies while boosting Russia's internal economy, especially the farm sector.  Also, Russia today has much more cost-effective defenses than the USSR ever had.  Technology has changed the game in their favor, and it will be the West, not Russia that breaks first.

Frankly, I'm disgusted with my government.  Canada had far better relations with the USSR back in the day.  That could have carried forward to the benefit of both parties, as we have so much in common, yet we threw it all away, and for what?


HowdyDoody's picture

The US has also put out a tender for a $100 million project to renovate an air base in Romania.

The plan to take over the world proceeds.

Ghordius's picture


and, should they die because of a Russian Invasion, we'll remember them in the same way as we will always remember Leonidas and all of his 300 men dying at the Hot Gates

but since Russia is not interested in invading, particularly when such a tripwire is set up, the whole exercise is just, as you noted, a relatively modest expense

and no, it is not just a foreign country, but it is also an ally. a military ally

specifically, three of them. and no, if your problem is the US being a member of NATO, then your problem is a domestic political issue in the US, and you might want to push your politics to have the US exit the NATO military alliance

at a certain point, "rah rah" meets the cold, hard reality of geopolitics and grown-up discussions

fact is that even that modest expense would be utterly unnecessary if we had a better understanding with Russia, and perhaps a treaty or two

enter again your domestic US discussion, which is evenly split between those who say that we ought to poke the Bear and those who say that the Bear is a cuddly teddy bear. on both sides, no respect either for the Bear or for reality

again: it's a "trip wire" and it's a matter for a military alliance. both realities of the sort that have been around since ever, you just have to crack a history book and read about them

land_of_the_few's picture

Sorry, but countries that don't have significant military forces, that let foreigners build bases on their territory at the expense of the locals, without asking the permission of the local population aren't "allies".

You need another word for those countries.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Concubine is the word I think you are looking for. 

Ghordius's picture

I have another word for those countries: small countries

now, is there a reason you want those small countries to have no military alliance?

is there a reason for you to suspect that they are not democracies, btw? re your "no permission of the local populations"?

all three Baltic Republics have a Constitution and an elected Parliament, which supports an appointed executive and agrees on treaties

nope. they are allies. you might not be one of them, but they are

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Would you be willing to send one of your grandkids to the front line in Latvia should the Russians invade? 


Ghordius's picture

do you relish in this kind of argument? it's something like the 6th time you ask

yes. now why should the Russians invade? that's the counterquestion that you never answer

why should Latvia be outside of NATO? another question for which you don't really have an answer, either

what exactly do you stand for, Haus?

besides that "please, Armageddon, come, I have feelings which can only be satisfied by "something Big Breaking, Hard", a "Great Collapse, However Shaped"?

I stand to my allies. together, we do not have to fear Russia. and Russia does not need to fear us, only the US-NeoCons, which are not here

it is our sovereign right to form military alliances, remember?

French Bloke's picture

It doesn't matter how you dress it up, it's NATO expansionism and it's provocative to put troops on the border of the made up threat. I don't see Russia or any of it's allies threatening the USA in the same, or any other, way. It's far more likely that NATO/CIA/MI6 will try to stir up some resentment against Russians living in the Baltics in order to start yet another civil war on Russias doorstep in order to give them an opportunity to invade Russia. False flags are the order of the day and bankrupt Uncle Sam is just itching to make a distraction from it's economic woes. Russia and it's economic allies stand against the Anglo Zionist banking cartel, much as Hitler did prior to WW2. It's time for another reset and the only answer these goons have is to destroy/kill/rebuild for the next boom.

Long memory man's picture

Latvia, 1 million people small beer, should be doing deals with Russia, USA is a bloody long way away.

land_of_the_few's picture

"is there a reason you want those small countries to have no military alliance"

1) they themselves did not want that, they wanted to be neutral like Switzerland in 1991.  However, as a precondition for joining the EU, countries are forced to also join NATO. This is not a matter of choice. And they don't necessarily ask the population about it.

2) NATO said to Shervardnadze it would not move that far, and it is also prohibited from making any permanent deployments. Breaking their word, and breaking treaties they signed up to.

3) Avoiding provocations and wars - well, unless that is the whole point of the exercise? Apart from MOAR pork. Neutral buffer zones avoid conflicts.

"is there a reason for you to suspect that they are not democracies" They are violating EU rules on democracy and citizenship. They would not be permitted to join the EU if the UK wasn't also pushing for Cyprus or some such other country to join at the same time, that was the only reason they were let in at the same time. They are still in violation of EU rules on citizenship and voting, which bans accession to the EU until such time as they fix their problem. They were also told by Colin Powell to quit the Nazi marching ... not very European (illegal in fact) . The US are still unhappy about it, and so are the Israelis and Germans.

Additionally, they told the population that if they *all* pushed for independence from the Soviet Union, they would *all* get citizenship after independence. So, the population *all* helped and, in return, ....

5) "have a Constitution and an elected Parliament, which supports an appointed executive and agrees on treaties" Again, they are violating EU rules on democracy and citizenship. Perhaps you think they, and the EU don't know that? They have to permanently tie themselves in knots to avoid discussing it in the EU. And if you think the population have any say on treaties you are more than naive. Where are the referendums, then?

They're still not allies.There's nothing there to ally *with*. Everything metallic was removed and sold as scrap before 1999. They don't even have jets or tanks, for heavens sake. No-one asked the populations about it. Satraps, or cheap military bases, maybe. The populations would flip sides for a cheese sandwich and are quite willing to say so. They are also very unwilling to sign up to the military, lots of places unfilled, *Thats* how much they fear an invasion, and that's how much they love their glorious political parties and their representatives.

Ghordius's picture

so basically you are writing that we should not have let them in the EU?

land_of_the_few's picture

Interesting question. If they had held out a year or two more before joining, perhaps some of the problems would have been fixed. Most likely they will never be now, and they will just have to live with it.

chubbar's picture

Maybe if the US actually followed the Treaties it signs instead of lying and cheating on the terms, we would have more treaties with Russia and be on better terms. The article states that NATO promised it wouldn't do what it is doing. Why would anyone trust the US or NATO after witnessing them breaking their promises?

East Indian's picture

"should they die because of a Russian Invasion, we'll remember them in the same way as we will always remember Leonidas and all of his 300 men dying at the Hot Gates"


Provided the NATO wins that war; history is written by the victors.

snowlywhite's picture

1. more or less, it's correct. On the other hand, noone will die; russia will suck it up and that'll be it;


2. the whole "news" is 1 year old...

Joe A's picture

One could easily envisage a scenario where somebody dressed up in somebody else's uniform trips over that wire.

N0TME's picture

Was thinking the same thing.

MSM would be nutting all over that story.

Ghordius's picture

that's why there should be a Russian "trip wire" on the other side of that border, yes. and there is one

and so we don't get some early morning radio newscast about "we are fighting back the invasion..."

peace. it's hard, for warmongers (and this includes, sadly, lots of doom mongers)

Joe A's picture

I would feel more secure with a DMZ of a couple of hundreds of kms on either side. Putting military hardware directly opposite each other is a recipe for disaster.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

A 200km DMZ would make Königsberg undefended/undefendable. 

Joe A's picture

You just don't cross a 200 DMZ without being noticed nowadays.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Königsberg at its widest point is 130 kilometers. 

Joe A's picture

A satellite can spot somebody taking a crap in a field in Königsberg. They can surely spot columns of tanks and troops.

Anyway, cities as are military men are expendable in wars.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

So lets say you get your 200 km DMZ.  That means Russia isn't allowed to have any of its military in Königsberg. 

So the Polish and Americans decide "gibme dat" one day and infringe on the 200km DMZ at full speed towards Königsberg. How do the Russians get their forces from St. Petersberg to Königsberg before its completely overrun?  Remember --- 200 km DMZ means zero military in Königsberg. 

Joe A's picture

That would be just the encouragement Vlad would need to go crazy Ivan. What would stop him then from taking the Baltics? Or Warsaw Some marines stationed there?

Everything and everybody is expendable.

BarkingCat's picture

The name of the city is Kaliningrad.

If you don't like the Russian name and want to be a traditionalist then call it Twangste.

That was the original Prussian name. 

You remember Prussians, don't you?

The original inhabitants of that region that were killed off and then for some weird reason the invading Germans appropriated.

BorisTheBlade's picture

500 soldiers represent FOB: Forward Overrun Base. Unless, and idea was played around with, they use nuclear mines aka non-conventional demolition munitions.