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Rinkevics: NATO soldiers in Latvia are here for a long time

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDifferent analytical research centres have noticed that Russia has launched a wide campaign aimed against NATO prior to the upcoming summit in Warsaw. At the same time, there are multiple secret military operations in progress. American and Scandinavian countries have noticed them, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.

«USA is surrounding Russia and preparing for war», «Military conflict between the West and Russia is unavoidable», «American militarists dictate orders to Europe», «Americans have created secret weapons to control human minds from a distance» – these and many other ideas worthy of science-fiction novels have been cooked up by Russian media. East StratCom Task Force experts have provided their conclusion in results of their studies of those ideas and reports. European and NATO researchers have concluded that as the Warsaw summit draws closer and closer, the volume of disinformation about an alleged Western aggression against Russia grows by the day.

«Of course, Warsaw summit is one of the targets for Russia’s propaganda machine. It is clear, and I believe the volume of this information will grow. We will see a number of different strategies employed by Russia to blacken this event,» – comments NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence Director Janis Sarts.

«Prior to events like the Warsaw summit and decisions that will likely be made during this event, Russia is interested in influencing the opinion of the population in NATO member states and its own territory. With that, we can expect sharp reactions and increase of propaganda campaigns before and after the summit,» – notes Defence Ministry’s state secretary Janis Garisons.

Sweden and Finland are also subjected to a massive propaganda campaign coming from Russia. Swedish Security Police SAPO has learned that Russian intelligence services continue actively spying on military and civil objects. Perhaps a coincidence, but there were multiple incidents prior to 25 May vote of the Swedish parliament to allow NATO to use Swedish army’s bases and ports. Hackers attacked websites of seven largest newspapers in Sweden. On 19 May, the entire Swedish air traffic control system was paralysed supposedly due to a technical failure. Three major mobile broadcast towers suddenly went dark not far from Russia’s border in Sweden.

American military officials have also noticed increase activity of Russian ships and submarines near important communication lines located on ocean depths. With reference to an anonymous source, The New York Times writes that Russia’s recently unveiled Yantar ship, built supposedly for research purposes, has been noticed near Guantanamo Bay area, specifically near the area where multiple vital underwater communication lines are located. Russian media report that a second such ship will be unveiled in Kaliningrad this week.

«Any form of activity – presence of submarines near cable lines or Russian navy ships that appear close to our territorial waters – should be considered serious. There is enough justification to respond to such actions by looking at them from any angle – be it military or non-military,» – says Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

NATO STRATFOR researchers have analysed Russia’s increased interest towards communications infrastructure. Researchers mentioned Russia’s actions in Crimea, where the army has taken over control over telecommunications and internet communications. According to unofficial reports, American and NATO military units that frequently visit Baltic States also often experience Russia’s attempts to jam communications. In an interview to Nekā Personīga, Glenn Howards, President of Jamestown Foundation described Russia’s behavior in short way – it wishes to create an impression about its military capabilities and intimidate residents in Baltic States.

«I believe every day it is nothing less than intimidation. It is what Putin employs in Baltic States. He wants us to think that if you are small, the West will not protect you. Russia, on the other hand, is right here. And it has a very strong military force. They are trying to show that their values differ from your values, because Baltic States employ European values. Russia employs very different values – Asian. Like Mongols – we will destroy you and toss you into the sea,» – comments Howards.

Russia’s invasion in Ukraine – that was the reason why NATO decided at the last summit in Wales to station 120 NATO troops in Latvia. It is hoped that Warsaw summit will result in the deployment of 600 to 1,000 troops.

«It is important to resolve the matter on command – who makes decisions in critical situations. We are interested in making the chain of command as short as possible. If a situation arises that one of the NATO member states comes under attack, decisions will have to be made very quickly. And, of course, it is very important to assess all possible threats, including hybrid war threats,» – explains State President Raimonds Vejonis.

«It is nothing that Russia is trying to declare that everything NATO is trying to do is escalate the situation instead of admitting what it has demonstrated so far – the forces they have amassed in the Baltic region and military exercises they have carried out in the past several years. They either forget to mention or merely say that it is a proportional response. Unfortunately, their response only serves to escalate the situation,» – believes Sarts.

«What is most important is making a clear political decision that NATO forces will be staying here for a long time. They will remain here for as long as we have a neighbour Russia is now,» – said Rinkevics.

The programme reports that Latvia’s army expects to receive air defence radars from USA on Friday. Latvia will receive the first of three medium and short range radars next week.

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