Date: 5 April 2018
Russian rockets over the Baltic Sea
Almost at the last moment, Russia informed that it would conduct rocket tests in the Baltic Sea, which caused serious concerns in the countries neighbouring that sea. Latvia was especially outraged because Russian rockets would appear in the airspace of its economic zone. Provocative tests are another Russian step towards the reinforcement of its military potential in the Baltic Sea, but they can be also considered as an instructional element of the scenario concerning the war with Baltic countries.
Russia announced that it would conduct rocket tests in extraordinary proceedings in the Baltic Sea, near Latvia’s sea borders, precisely in the water region between Latvia and Sweden. On March 29, Ministry of Defence of Latvia published an information received from Moscow: on April 4-6 Russian navy plans to conduct rocket fire tests, which can cover the airspace of the exclusive economic zone of Latvia. Thus, Russia ordered the Latvian Civil Aviation Agency to close the airspace in an 18-kilometre altitude and 40 kilometres from the seacoast. According to Janis Garisons, a member of Latvian Ministry of Defence, Sweden and Poland were also warned to close part of their airspaces. Latvian Ministry of Defence called the Russian military attaché and expressed its dissatisfaction with the ensuing situation. Such exercises, despite being consistent with international agreements and law, can threaten civil ships and planes in the Baltic Sea. The situation was commented by the Latvian president Raimonds Vejonis, who said that the Russian step would “worsen the security situation in the region”.
Just on March 29, Russians have finished other exercises in the Baltic Sea. Among others, they stimulated the use of S-400 system missiles for shooting down hostile aircrafts. 10 units of the Baltic Fleet: small missile ships, missile boats and security vessels will take part in the rocket tests on April 4-6. The Russian activity in the Baltic region is clearly increasing. In the Kaliningrad Oblast the rocket powers and aviation are being reinforced. The change in activity of Russian aircrafts in this region – which is visible in the number of interceptions made by NATO’s aircrafts, is also disturbing. The record was set in 2015 – 160 alarm take-offs. Then the number fell to 110 in 2016, but in 2017 it started to increase – 130. Russians again started intruding the airspaces of other countries – just as on March 12, when their aircraft for about a minute entered the airspace of Estonian Vaindloo island.
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