bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 20.01.2017 | Name days: Aļģirds, Orests, Oļģerts, Alģis
LithuaniaLithuania

Russia acts brazenly in the Baltic Sea, but region’s defence cannot expect more US money

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULinas Jegelevicius for BNN

The brazen acts of hooliganism by Russian fighter jets within a couple days in the Baltic Sea have irked Lithuanian politicians, but do not surprise local analysts: Russia sees the Baltic Sea as its own, so such incidents are likely to happen again.  With the Baltics clamouring now for more funds to ramp up the sea defence, additional money to the Baltic region won’t come, Kęstutis Girnius, a US-born Lithuanian analyst is convinced.

Russia is blamed but defends its actions

For Arturas Paulauskas, a Lithuanian MP and chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence (NSGK), the hostility in the Baltic Sea is nothing less than acts of brazen provocation.

«What Moscow is trying to show is that the real master of the Baltic Sea is Russia. It demonstrates that the marine territory is their zone of influence and that no foreign ship can cross it without Russia’s permit,» Paulauskas told BNN.

To remind, in the encounter Tuesday last week, the US Navy missile destroyer USS Donald Cook got a scare from a Russian jet which flew by within nine meters of the ship’s construction. US secretary of State John Kerry has described Russia’s action as «reckless and provocative» and insisted that the American missile destroyer was entitled to «shoot down» the aggressive intruder.

Then, in the incident last Thursday, a Russian jet, according to a US Navy official, «performed erratic and aggressive manoeuvrers» as it flew within 50 meters of the U.S. aircraft’s wing tip. Some American experts said, however, the US ship and the reconnaissance plane were not in immediate danger.

Meanwhile, Russia has defended its actions with the Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed following the incidents that Russia acted «in accordance with international rules» when its unarmed fighter jets buzzed the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea.

What if there had been Turks instead?

According to Paulauskas, the US Navy missile destroyer USS Donald Cook was on the way to the Lithuanian Baltic seaport of Klaipeda secretly when it was located by Russian fighter jets.

Reports claim that they buzzed by the US ship 11 times.

«The number of so many fly-overs exhibits their provocative nature. We were told by Americans that they (Russians) were simulating an air attack. It’s a good thing that the Americans were cold-minded. Imagine what would have happened if there had been Turks?» the NSGK chairman asked rhetorically, referring to the deadly incident last November, when a Turkish fighter jet downed Russia’s SU-24 fighter jet.

In the wake of the headline-grabbing incident in the Baltic Sea, Lithuania announced it will not launch a probe into it as the incident occurred in international waters.

Paulauskas also pondered that the Russian provocations also aim to deter Americans from providing military and reconnaissance assistance to Lithuania.

«Alas, it was not the first incident with Russians’ engagement, so these kinds of events aren’t already a big shocker,» the parliamentarian noted.

MP: hooligans are everywhere

Following the report of Lithuania’s intelligence on national threats in early April, Paulauskas stirred a major hoopla in the country after admitting that Russian paratroopers may possible have landed in Juodkrantė, a lush settlement on the picturesque Curonian strip which connects it with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. No evidence has been provided though.

Rasa Juknevičienė, former minister of Land Defence, also sees the Russian actions as acts of «hooliganism», which, she believes, hurts Russia itself.

«There are many hooligans out there on the streets. But hooligans at seas should be viewed appropriately. As the ship was coming on a friendly mission, such its hostile interception and demonstrating of power makes harm to Russia and puts it, as a state, in the margins,» Juknevičienė told Lithuanian media.

Concurring with the NSGK chairman, she also underlined that the Kremlin is wielding power and sending cues that the Baltic waters are its territory.

«I’d say it falls very well into the same mold as all the cyber-attacks and attempts to land in foreign territories (reference to the possible Juodkrantė incident; Juknevičienė was particularly fiery after the Paulauskas revelation and insisted that the penetrator should have annihilated -L.J.), as well as all other permanent provocations and information wars. All of that are key elements of the hybrid war, aiming to bring confusion and tensions and fret people in the Baltic region,» the MP believes.

PM: international treaty was breached

Weighing in on the Baltic Sea incident, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius reminded that, back in 1972, the-then Soviet Union and the United States of America signed a treaty envisioning certain rules of behaviour in international waters.

He, however, declined to comment anything else on the incidents, saying that they were the primary prerogative of the Commander of Lithuanian Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, Nerijus Maliukevčius, a lecturer of political sciences at Vilnius University’s Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences, says that, by the aggressive behaviour, Russia sends the US a clear message that American warplanes and warships are under constant surveillance in the Baltic Sea.

«Another message is that Russian pilots are courageous professionals. Lithuanian can win from the hostility, however, as the incidents may induce the US military planners to ramp up US military presence in the region,» Maliukevičius told Lithuanian media.

In his mind, the belligerent sea actions could also be used against, or to support, the US presidential hopeful Donald Trump who is preaching US’s more isolationistic stance on the international arena.

Two super powers tend to avoid tension escalation

Agreeing with the notion that Russia in the Baltic Sea feels as a single boss, Kęstutis Girnius, a political scientist of American descent, paid attention to the fact that the Russian jets, which flew within the reach of the USS Donald Cook, did not contain warheads.

Girnius did not want to get into the guessing game how different the situation could have evolved if the crew of the American warplane had downed the Russian jets as the Turks did at the end of last year.

«All American servicemen and the ship commanders, too, are a lot more cold-bloodied than the Turks. Even in the most horrible scenario, I mean with the Russian jet downed, parties would have tried to avoid escalating a head-to-head encounter,» Girnius told BNN.

Baltics cannot expect more security assurances for now

Remembering the deadly downing by Russians of a South Korean airliner back in the 1980s, Girnius emphasized that, despite the tense cold war atmosphere, the US did not engaged in retaliatory military actions against Russia.

«In spite of the fact there was a US diplomat on board,» the analyst underlined.

As the US has recently pledged 3.5 billion US dollars to bolster the defence of Eastern Europe, the Baltics cannot expect any additional money for the regional defence, he is convinced.

«It is understandable that the highest Lithuanian echelons of power, especially the President, take advantage of every chance to pay the NATO’s and US’s attention to what is going here. Now I hear President Dalia Grybauskaitė talking about  necessity to ramp up Baltics’ defence capabilities on her visit to Germany, but the requests are not heeded. Many Western countries- and Germany, too- understand that the confrontation with Russia is dangerous and that it should be shunned if it’s possible,» Girnius underlined. «I do not think we can expect any extra military reinforcement in Eastern Europe, and Baltics, for quite some time after the 3.5 billion USD allotment.»


Leave a reply

Expert: «Lithuania’s renewed National Security Strategy is a «hodgepodge»

This week, the Lithuanian Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a renewed National Security Strategy, laying out 14 major hazards and risk factors to national security.

Industry: advertisements contribute the entire economy of the European Union

Every euro invested in advertisement has seven times the influence on a country’s GDP. Every one euro brings seven euros in return to the country’s GDP, as emphasized by Latvian Advertising Association, noting that advertisement sector contributes to employment in all of the European Union.

Six deputies applied with administrative penalties in Saeima’s autumn session

According to information provided to the parliament, six deputies were applied with administrative penalties during Saeima’s autumn session.

Slower economic growth for Estonia forecast – at 2.2% - for 2017

The economic growth of Estonia in 2017 will be slower than previously expected, Swedbank economists have announced lowering their previous economic forecast for the Baltic country by 0.2% to 2.2%.

Latvian and Lithuanian authorities dismantle two criminal groups

Latvian State Revenue Service’s Finance Police has successfully apprehended two organized crime groups that caused significant damage to the state budget in 2015 and 2016 by realizing different VAT fraud schemes.

Estonia to drop special pensions, push forward sweeping pension reforms

The Estonian government has decided to drop special pensions and to push forward with plans regarding other significant changes in the pension system, including tying the retirement age to the average life expectancy.

KNAB performs inspection about Jakrins’ approval in the board of Rīgas satiksme

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau intends to inspect if the approval of acting head of Riga City Council’s Transport Department Emils Jakrins in the management board of Rīgas satiksme had any signs of breach of good management principles.

Chinese GDP up 6.7% in 2016

World’s second largest economy has seen a 6.7% growth in 2016, Chinese official data show, which indicate that the gross-domestic-product increase has been slower than the 6.9% seen in 2015 and the slowest since 1990.

Dozens buried in Italy’s avalanche-stricken hotel

Italy has been shaken by a number of earthquakes this week, one of which has triggered an avalanche burying a mountain hotel, where at least two people have been found dead and dozens more a searched for through rubble and snow.

Weekends to experience frost and thaw; drivers urged to be careful

Weather in Latvia will not be stable in the next couple of days – cloudy weather with some precipitation will be mixed with periods of clear sky, according to State Environmental, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Logistics Industry Council assesses results of 16+1 summit

Experts say container cargoes have the potential to bring major contribution to the logistics sector. With that, LDz Logistics intends to continue organizing the next container train from China, as well as cooperate with partners from Belarus and China in the context of the Great Stone industrial park, as BNN was informed by Transport Ministry’s representative Ilze Greiskalna.

Parliament supports amendments to avoid expensive land-measuring actions

It will no longer be necessary to prepare land border plan for entry of land units in the Land Book. It will help save budget funds, as it will not be necessary to perform land-measuring actions, as reported by Saeima press-service.

CP supervisors concerned about Latvijas Gāze’s contract terms

The Competition Council is concerned about Latvijas Gāze’s behaviour in the process of liberalization of the country’s gas market. Economy Ministry has submitted a draft of the Gas Trade and Use Rules to the Cabinet of Ministers Committee for review.

Germany seeks clarity from Trump’s government, to boost military spending

Berlin has emphasised plans to increase defence spending after facing criticism from upcoming U.S. President Donald Trump on NATO countries not meeting their spending commitments.

Saeima re-elects Elita Krumina as State Auditor

On Thursday, 19 January, the Saeima re-elected Elita Krumina in the post of State Auditor.

Saeima supports formation of aircraft passenger data registry to combat terrorism

On Thursday, 19 January, Latvia’s Saeima approved the Aircraft Passenger Data Processing Law in the final reading. This will form the passenger data registry.

Milk retail price in Estonia reaches 55 cents per litre after to price hikes

After a long period of low milk purchase prices in Estonia, milk retail prices in the Baltic country have increased twice, reaching the point where famers receive just enough to cover milk production costs.

Ventspils Freeport carries Lembergs around with luxurious car worth EUR 156,000

In spite of a 16.44% turnover decline, Ventspils Freeport bought a lux-class Audi A8L W12 for EUR 156,000 last year. It’s only known passenger so far has been the formally suspended chairman of Ventspils City Council Aivars Lembergs, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Estonia concludes bilateral defence framework deal with Finland

Estonia and Finland have signed a bilateral defence cooperation framework agreement aiming for closer and more regular cooperation in the field by the neighbouring countries.

Biden: Wealthiest 1% does not pay enough in taxes

The «top 1% is not carrying their weight», outgoing U.S. vice-president, Joe Biden evaluated at the World Economic Forum, insisting the world's wealthiest that they do not pay enough in taxes.

Latvia and Japan sign convention on attraction of foreign investments

In Tokyo, Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister Motome Takisawa signed a convention between the two countries on double taxation prevention for income tax.

FM: problems with real estate tax cannot be resolved with tax rate corridor

Real estate tax benefits for housing area could be applied for each person declared living in each respective house. Each benefit can be applied to the building and land, Finance Ministry’s representative Aleksis Jarockis reported on conclusions made by the work group responsible for amendments.

Turkey’s New Year’s terrorist admits choosing nightclub randomly

The main suspect of the attack in Istanbul, which left 39 people dead during New Year’s celebrations, had selected randomly the place of attack.

WhatsApp to be provided with bank-contacting functionality

Continuing the digitization process and studying customer habits more intently, it is planned to allow customers resolve matters related to finances using WhatsApp, DNB Bank reports.

U.S. commutes sentence of classified-document-leaker Manning

U.S. President Barack Obama has commuted the sentence of the former U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning, found guilty of stealing and leaking a vast material of classified material to transparency organisations.

When do you pay fines for speeding?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: