Baltic Rim Monitor Articles
The recent attacks of the liberal president on the national-conservative coalition party may lead to a political crisis in Estonia. Although it has been a few months, some Estonian politicians as well as large media platforms still have not come to terms with the fact that Eurosceptic EKRE forms the government. Now, they are using the liberal Western media to fight the right-wing party.
Lithuanian Armed Forces officially received two Boxer multirole armoured fighting vehicles ordered from Germany. In the Lithuanian army, they are called Vilkas (Ang. wolves). They entered the biggest unit which is the Mechanised Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf”. Ultimately, the Lithuanian army will be equipped with 88 such vehicles. They will definitely reinforce the firepower.
The president’s first foreign visit to Warsaw and the invitation for the Lithuanian Poles party to the coalition and government. Lithuania definitely wants to get closer with Poland considering it as a security enhancement. The small Baltic country located between the highly militarised Kaliningrad Oblast and pro-Russian Belarus reacts to the enhancement of the Polish-American alliance.
An experienced officer who is perfectly acquainted with Russians will become a commander of the voluntary, paramilitary organisation in Estonia. He was fighting with Russians when Estonia was regaining its independence. His long experience gained in the military intelligence and special operations will be helpful in the struggle with the Russian hybrid threat.
When the Russians, together with their Western partners, were busy implementing further gas pipeline projects through the Baltic Sea, Finland was the least of their problems. The government in Helsinki had no trouble granting all necessary consents for the construction of both Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2.
On June 21, the largest two-week military exercise in Lithuania, in which about 4,000 soldiers of the Lithuanian Army and allied countries took part in, came to an end. As reported by the Command of the Lithuanian Army, the exercise, which was mainly aimed at improving military mobility and the speed of transferring troops to different parts of the country, went according to plan.
From the end of May until the beginning of July, a series of naval exercises, with varying intensity, is being held by NATO forces and its partner countries in the Baltic Sea. The main phase of the Baltic Protector military training is the annual BALTOPS naval exercise. The 47th edition of the exercise is being led by the U.S. Navy’s Second Fleet, a military unit reestablished in 2018 in response to the increased threat posed by Russia in the North Atlantic.
Finland’s recently formed centre-left coalition government has just presented its programme. As far as the notion of security is concerned, in general, the so-called “balance policy” is to be maintained. This, in turn, means that Finland will keep the status of a non-bloc country and continue military cooperation with the EU, NATO and Sweden.
The recent elections to the EP have not brought any major surprises in the countries of the eastern part of the Baltic Sea Region. As regards the three post-Soviet Baltic republics, it can be said that the representatives of national minorities have generally managed to keep their positions. However, what draws attention is the fact that the results of extremely Eurosceptic parties are poorer than expected.
In one country, a president has been elected by a popular vote, in the other – by a vote of the parliament. The method of choosing the head of state is connected with the scope of presidential power. The President of Lithuania has far greater powers than the President of Latvia. Both new leaders have centre-right views, they are definitely pro-European and see the futures of their countries in NATO.
Over 2,000 soldiers as well as heavy military equipment from 14 countries have been deployed to Finland to take part in a military exercise. The military hardware consists of artillery, tanks and aircraft. This year, Finland has become the arena of Bold Quest, an annual military exercise led by the US Army General Staff for several years now. The exercise, which is to last two weeks, began in the middle of May.
Spring Storm 2019, a large-scale military exercise held in the easternmost NATO bastion, has just come to an end. The exercise has demonstrated that, out of all NATO member states, Estonia is the country most threatened by Russia simply due to its geographic location. The exercise has also shown that by operating on the Estonian territory, NATO could seriously restrict Russian activity in the Baltic Sea.
The first round of the 2019 presidential election in Lithuania has been narrowly won by Ingrida Šimonyte, a conservative candidate and former Minister of Finance. She will now compete for the highest state office with Gitanas Nauseda, an economist and former chief adviser to the President of SEB Bank. Both candidates share similar views, however, it is Nauseda who is considered to be the favourite for the position.
Between April and May, the Estonian army and its NATO allies are going to take part in military drills in Estonia. For this reason, in April, four multinational battalion battle groups stationing at Tapa Army Base were reinforced.