Tag Archives: Baltics

NATO will respond to any attack on Poland or Baltics – Stoltenberg

NATO will respond to any attack on Poland or Baltics - StoltenbergThe NATO alliance will respond to any attack on Poland or the Baltic countries, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview published on Tuesday. “Through the presence of NATO forces in Poland and in the Baltic countries, we are sending Russia a very strong signal: if there is an attack on Poland or the Baltic countries, the whole alliance will respond,” he said before the NATO summit.



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Netanyahu courts Baltics as EU slams settlement plans

Netanyahu courts Baltics as EU slams settlement plansIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a groundbreaking visit in Lithuania on Thursday, saying he hoped to deepen ties with eastern EU nations as Brussels blasted Israel’s plans for fresh settlements in the West Bank. Dozens of Pro-Palestinian activists waved Palestinian flags and chanted that Netanyahu was “not welcome” while railing against Lithuania’s warm ties with Israel outside government buildings in the capital Vilnius, where he held talks with his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis. Netanyahu thanked Skvernelis for the “strong position you’ve taken in forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency”.



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US 'closely tracking' as Chinese navy in the Baltics for war games with Russia

US 'closely tracking' as Chinese navy in the Baltics for war games with RussiaChinese warships will join Vladimir Putin’s navy in the Baltic Sea on Friday ahead of war games which are being watched closely by Western powers. The drills, which are a sign of both the growing reach of the Chinese military and closer strategic ties between Moscow and Beijing, kick off a busy summer of drills by Russia in eastern Europe which have raised alarm in Washington. China’s most advanced guided-missile destroyers are expected to arrive in the Russian enclave of Kalingrad on Friday before taking to the seas with a Russian flotilla on Monday for exercises that will run until July 31. The Type 052D destroyer, Changsha, missile frigate Yuncheng and supply ship Luoma Lake are taking part in the drills. PLA navy ships to enter Baltic Sea for the first time to hold joint exercises with Russia t.co/dhiqc5On0Bpic.twitter.com/SthAGIEu9c— China News 中国新闻网 (@Echinanews) July 19, 2017 The Changsha was described as China’s “most advanced guided-missile destroyer” by Chinese media, while the Yuncheng is also believed to be among the most capable frigates in the People Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s arsenal. "By sending its most advanced guided-missile destroyers, China is expressing its sincerity to Russia and also sends a strong signal to other countries who plan to provoke us," Li Jie, a Beijing-based navy expert, told the state-run Global Times. The Royal Navy escorted a flotilla of Chinese warships through English waters as it prepared to carry out drills with Vladimir Putin's forces. Credit: Rob Verkerk While China has dispatched some of its most high-end warships to the joint exercise, the continent from Russia’s Baltic fleet is much smaller. Just two combat ships – new corvettes of the Steregushchy class – will be joined by a support tug, naval Ka-27 helicopters and land-based Su-24 fighter-bombers as air support.  The reason for such a small showing at this year’s Joint Sea exercise is straightforward, says Maxim Shepovalenko, a former Russian navy captain and expert at the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), said the small Russian showing was because there was "no need for a large-scale exercise" in the Baltic, "merely a symbolic one". "I can’t imagine the Russian navy ever holding a large-scale naval drill even by itself. And for the Chinese Navy, this is just a way to get a taste for ‘global reach,’” Mr Shepovalenko said. The exercise will run the course of a week, and will feature anti-submarine, anti-aircraft, and anti-ship drills. The two sides will also practice anti-piracy as well as search and rescue operations. The joint flotilla is under the command of Russian Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov and Chinese Vice-Admiral Tian Zhong.  The drills are being conducted in Russian, according to the Baltic Fleet’s press service. China has been expanding its military reach by building up its naval forces and establishing its first overseas military base in the tiny east African nation of Djibouti this year. The manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea are being seen by Chinese experts as a show of force following joint drills by the United States and Beijing's two key Asian rivals – India and Japan – in the Indian Ocean earlier this month. Observers also say they are directed at Nato, and underscore China’s aspirations to be a major blue sea power and a rival to US naval might. A statement from the United States European command said: “We are closely tracking Russian exercises with other participants, like China. “While we support their rights to train in international commons, we expect all nations adhere to international norms and laws,” the statement added, according the the Stars and stripes military news website. US and Japanese (R) Navy ships are pictured docked at a harbour during the inauguration of joint naval exercises with India in Chennai on July 10, 2017.  Credit: AFP The drills mark the first occasion that Chinese warships have ever carried out manoeuvres in the strategically important Baltic Sea, and come after recent manoeuvres in the Mediterranean. Wei Dongxu, a Beijing based military expert, said that Britain would feel a loss of prestige over the Chinese drills, given its history as a maritime power. “If you look back 30 years ago, there was no way that Britain could have imagined China could dispatch such advanced warships to carry out these activities,” he told The Telegraph. “I expect China will have overwhelming advantage over Britain on naval strength.” A named commentary in the Global Times on Friday that the drills are part of a wider plan of “enhancing (China’s) presence in oceans around the world”. “China should not back down from its current stance in the face of criticism from NATO countries,” said the commentary, from Cui Heng. a PhD candidate at the Center for Russian Studies, East China Normal University. “An appropriate entry into the NATO countries' "backyard" like the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea will reflect China's confidence and strength.” Members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy stand on the Liaoning aircraft carrier as it sails into Hong Kong, china, on Friday, July 7, 2017.  Credit: Bloomberg Meanwhile, concerns have been raised by the US military over Russian war games in Belarus – an ally of Moscow – in September. Some NATO allies believe the Russian exercise could number more than 100,000 troops and involve nuclear weapons training, the biggest such exercise since 2013. US Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who heads US Army forces in Europe, told Reuters that allies are also concerned that the manouvres could be a “Trojan horse”, in which Russia would leave equipment behind. Additional reporting by Christine Wei



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Royal Navy scrambles to shadow Chinese warships in English Channel as they head to Baltics for first war games with Russia 

Royal Navy scrambles to shadow Chinese warships in English Channel as they head to Baltics for first war games with Russia The Royal Navy scrambled a warship to shadow a Chinese flotilla as it steamed through the English Channel en route to meet Russian vessels for manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea. The trio of Chinese warships passed through the Strait of Dover under the watch of the HMS Richmond, a Type 23 frigate, at the weekend. They then headed across the North Sea, where they were spotted being escorted by Dutch vessels earlier this week ahead of manoeuvres with Vladimir Putin’s navy which begin on Friday. China’s state-run Global Times newspaper said on Tuesday that the 052D, the country’s “most advanced guided-missile destroyer”, was taking part in the week-long joint drills. The Chinese warships later headed through Dutch waters on their way to the Baltic Credit:  Rob Verkerk  The ship “is equipped with phased array radar and a vertical launching system”, the newspaper said. Russian media say ten ships will take part in the first phase of the exercise, joined by more than 10 aircraft and helicopters. Route of Chinese warships The drills mark the first occasion that Chinese warships have ever carried out manoeuvres in the strategically important Baltic Sea.  The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy had just completed exercises in the Mediterranean, another show of strength from Beijing as it rapidly expands its military reach across the globe. The drills with Russia mark the first occasion that Chinese warships have ever carried out manoeuvres in the strategically important Baltic Sea Credit: Rob Verkerk  Professor Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military expert, told The Telegraph the Baltic Sea drills were aimed at Nato, but were being carried out in response to drills that were recently staged by the US, India and Japan in the Indian Ocean, which were directed towards China. “China and Russia have pledged to enhance their strategic relationship by regularly staging military drills,” said Prof Ni, director of the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law’s Sea Power and Defence Policy Research Institute. “China also has its own plans,” he added. “Which is to show the world that it is a major naval power.” A Chinese naval fleet held a military exercise with the Russian navy in St Petersburg and Kaliningrad last month. The two countries have held joint drills every year since 2012, and military officials in China said this year’s manoeuvres will focus on “joint rescue efforts and protecting cargo vessels”. China and Russia both have veto powers on the UN Security Council, and regularly vote together on major issues such as the crisis in Syria. This position often puts them at odds with the United States and Western Europe.



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Putin plane makes detour avoiding Poland, Baltics on way to G20: flight tracker

Putin plane makes detour avoiding Poland, Baltics on way to G20: flight trackerBy Andrius Sytas VILNIUS (Reuters) – A plane carrying Russian President Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit in Germany made a detour of about 500 km (300 miles) to avoid flying over NATO members Poland or the Baltic states, data from a flight tracker showed. According to the FlightRadar24 website, a Russian government jet flying from Moscow to Hamburg on Thursday deviated from the direct route over Belarus and Poland, which was once a Soviet bloc state but joined the Western military alliance after the fall of communism.



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