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The European states have begun important naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, with Germany taking a leadership role; they are preparing for – you guessed it – the Russian threat.
The nations of Europe seem to be piling up their armies, and Germany is taking the lead among them, as they prepare to counter an alleged threat from the east: Russia.
On Sunday, Reuters reported that on Monday, Germany is scheduled to begin major naval exercises on the Finnish coast, which will include 3,600 sailors and troops, 40 ships and 30 aircraft from more than a dozen European countries. The focus of the drills is to keep the Baltic Sea safe for commercial transports.
“The Baltic Sea is our front yard, so we and our neighbours obviously want to be able to move freely on the shipping lines,” Capt. Sven Beck told reporters aboard the German frigate Hamburg.
Russia has repeatedly declared that it has no intention of threatening anyone in Europe with a military offensive. However, in response to the deployment of a US anti-missile defence system. UU That, according to military experts, can be re-used to launch offensive missiles, Russia deployed its Iskander-M missile launchers in the Kaliningrad region in 2013. In February 2018, the head of the State Duma Defense Committee, Vladimir Shamanov, acknowledged that these weapons are stationed there permanently.
However, Western military experts believe that in the event of an armed conflict, Russia will block the Baltic Sea, cutting trade lines and making it difficult for Western Europe to provide naval military support to the Baltic countries bordering Russian territory.
According to the Reuters report, the Baltic Sea is shallow and has narrow straits, which facilitates the blockade with the minefields. During the exercise, European military vessels will practice the removal of mines, escort cargo ships and simulate the use of force.
“The objective of our exercise is to ensure the maritime lines of communication, those lines that can not be seen but that guarantee trade and prosperity in the countries along the Baltic coast,” Captain Beck told reporters.
Since 2014, when Crimea voted to join Russia and a civil war broke out in Ukraine, Germany has tried to assume a leading role in Europe in terms of naval power, Reuters reports, by establishing regular meetings of fleet commanders the following year and at the beginning The construction of a new command center in Rostock. The center is supposed to be operational to lead European operations in the Baltic in 2023.
This indicates that Germany is slowly getting rid of its “post-World War II reluctance to take military leadership,” the report says. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last month that Germany must “take on more responsibility for the region.”
“We do not have a big army, but in relation to the Baltic countries, it is huge. So we are pleased to take responsibility, “said Captain Beck.
And it seems that Europe is happy to deliver this initiative to Berlin.
“We are very pleased that Germany has taken the lead in this regard,” said the Finnish Navy chief, Admiral Veijo Taipalus.
During most of the Cold War and the following decades, the United States assumed a leading role in NATO, assuming the responsibility to protect Europe from Russia. However, President Trump more than once asked the EU, and in particular, Germany, to increase its own defence spending. Early last week, the former commander of US forces in Europe, retired General Ben Hodges, hinted that Europe should learn to defend itself, saying that the United States “does not have the capacity to do everything it has to do in Europe. and in the Pacific ». To face the Chinese threat «.
It seems that Europe, led by Berlin, finally decided to do just that.
Source: ES News-Front