Baltic Rim Monitor Articles
Stockholm sounded the alarm: Russia is preparing for a large-scale war and the aggressive policy of Moscow threatens Sweden as well. This is the reason for the political consensus to continue, or even increase the pace of the reconstruction of the Kingdom’s military potential. At least four factors point that Russia is preparing for a great conflict.
Less than half a year after the capture of two people suspected of working for the GRU, Russia’s main military intelligence agency, the Harju County Court has ruled on their case. Former officer of the Estonian military Deniss Metsavas has been sentenced to 15 and a half years in prison and his father Pjotr Volin to 6 years in prison.
After the USA’s decision on suspending its participation in the INF treaty and the similar punitive decision of the Kremlin, Russia is fuelling the atmosphere of hysteria caused by this matter. This can be exemplified by statements concerning the alleged deployment of rocket weapons in the Baltic states by the USA.
Never before had independent Latvia waited so long to form a government after the parliamentary elections. It was achieved after four months, in the third attempt. The form of the coalition was obvious from the beginning, but the choice of PM and ministers was more difficult. Eventually, the leader of the smallest grouping in the coalition has become the head of cabinet.
Finland has decided to move from words to actions regarding the issue of Russian-owned real property located near Finnish strategic points. The Administrative Court in Helsinki agreed with the Finnish Army on the matter and prohibited Boris Rotenberg, a Russian billionaire, from expanding the construction of property in close proximity to an important military training ground.
Neutrality will not assure security any longer. In the face of the rising threat posed by their eastern neighbour, Finland and Sweden are developing tighter cooperation with a NATO member, Norway. Helsinki proposed joint, Finnish-Swedish-Norwegian military exercises in the territories which are directly endangered by a land Russian invasion.
On the basis of new regulations accepted in 2018 in Latvia archival documents of the State Security Committee of the Soviet Latvia were revealed. Access to the so-called “Cheka’s bags” is given to everyone. It is enough to enter the subpage of the Latvian archives kgb.arhivi.lv.
Yuri Stilve, who has been convicted of spying for Russia, was detained by the Latvian counterintelligence service almost year ago. In August 2018, he was sentenced to three years on probation for collaborating with foreign services. It was only recently that more details of his spying activity had been revealed by the Re:Baltica group of journalists.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that a meeting between Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Lithuanian ex-president and MEP, Rolandas Paksas, had taken place in the Kremlin. Interestingly, no details were given, contrary to the talks between the Lithuanian politician and the chairmen of Russia’s both parliamentary chambers.
Lithuanian authorities confirmed that recently several people suspected of espionage for Russia were detained. The number of detainees is not known. But it is known that a well-known Lithuanian politician is among them. It is also known that a Russian citizen was detained, but quickly released. The detainment of Algirdas Paleckis is important.
The construction of the so-called “House of Moscow” in Vilnius has been planned for almost 14 years. The first press reports about building such an institution in the business district of Vilnius appeared in 2004. Under the most recent decision of the city authorities, supported by the opinion of the State Security Department of Lithuania (VSD), the construction process, which has been going on for years, is to be stopped.
The Finnish company Sisu is to conclude a €200 million contract for the supply of armoured vehicles to the Latvian Armed Forces. The offered vehicle model met all the necessary requirements and proved to be better adapted to Latvia’s natural conditions than the variants offered by the USA, South Africa and Turkey. It is highly probable that the contract will be valid for the next 10 years.
In 2019, the British authorities will strengthen their contingent in Estonia and carry out military exercises in this Baltic country with the participation of all types of armed forces. London claims that Russia is the main military threat not only to NATO’s eastern flank, but also to the United Kingdom itself.
At the beginning of December, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė paid a state visit to Kiev. The highlight of the visit was a meeting with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the aim of which was to sign a number of agreements between the two states. As a result, Lithuania and Ukraine have strengthened their cooperation in the fields of politics, the military and economy.