Power Play in the Baltics

14.04.2016

Mostly unrecognized by the global media the Russian Federation is pushing its show of force in the Baltic Region from its Oblast Kaliningrad, which is placed between Lithuania and Poland, in the past months.

Yet the conflict with the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has been kept in a cold phase since years by media propaganda and cyber attacks, the situation has changed since the pro-Russian unrests of 2014 in the Ukraine.

As western medias has been concerned about the stationing of Russias sophisticated Anti-Airwarfare Iskander-M missile systems in the Hmeimim Airbase close to Latakiya, such systems has been also brought to the Oblast Kalaingrad at the same time in late 2015. This creates a strategic bottleneck for NATOs ability to move at its Eastern borders, as the range of such system as well as the Russian Baltic Fleet easily dominate the Baltic region and has lead up to the recent NATO thoughts to place nuclear warheads in the Baltics as a categorial warning.

Such power plays might also effect the civil economy, as the space for political solutions in the region seems to be little. While the media has recently claimed, that last Novembers black-out on the Swedish air-traffic-control-system which led to a stop of the majority of domestic and international flights in the country, was based on a cyber-attack by Russian based hackers, the USS Donald Cook, which is conducting military excerises with the Baltic NATO allies, has been harrassed by Russian combat jets this week, which prevents a Polish Naval Helicopter to take-off from the vessel.

The Baltic Sea is one of Euope’s most important economic areas and has recently been in the focus because of the ongoing European dispute about the Nordstream 2 project between Russia and Germany. As one of many controversy aspects in the Baltics, a escalation of the general situation may have increased negative effects on traffic and transportation lanes between the Baltic states. As cyber attacks seem to be the current weapon of choice it’s very likely that incidents like the last years grounding of Polish LOT-Airplanes in cause of a cyber attack might come handy as even the Lithuanian Parliaments website has been recently become a victim of a cyber attack. 

 

For more information on the issue, please click on the links below.

Report by Airtrafficmanagment

Article at CNN

Article on EurActiv

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