The future Russian-European war: balance of power and prospects of the American “Northern Fist”

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April 10, 2015
@Dima Piterski
Translated by Kristina Rus

Leonid Nersisyan, IA Regnum

After the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, the stream of anti-Russian propaganda in the world has reached the scale of the times of the Soviet Union. But if the majority of EU countries have relatively neutral forces, calling for reconciliation, in Scandinavia and the Baltics the line towards Russia is most radical and destructive. It is in these countries, where the US influence is constantly growing: in the Baltics there are no longer any independent states, and in Scandinavia the process is actively moving in the same direction. Interestingly, of the four Scandinavian countries (including Finland – it’s not always included in this geographical concept), only Norway and Denmark are a part of NATO, and Sweden and Finland so far have a non-aligned status, at least on words. Nevertheless, the wave of anti-Russian hysteria and militarization is sweeping through these two states.

The tools are misinformation and lies at the highest level: just remember the story about the Russian nuclear submarine, supposedly entering the territorial waters of Sweden. Only what was the reason and how such an object could be missed, no one answered – irresponsibility in big politics is now in fashion. 

Norway constantly sheds “crocodile tears” – drawing attention to the flights of Russian strategic aviation (which, incidentally, never violated anyone’s borders), and most recently voicing ridiculous assumption that the Russian research vessels are “spying” on them, located at the former submarine base Olavson. The base was sold a few years ago by Norwegian authorities themselves, as the cost of its operation was huge, but there was no real military purpose -in the war with Russia it will not help, though, it really is a powerful refuge for submarines, and in the global conflict the underwater forces of the Norwegian Navy are miniscule – only 6 diesel-electric submarines of “Ula” class.

The rhetoric in Denmark and Finland is not as harsh, and the amount of too obvious misinformation, voiced by officials, is much smaller. But this are just words. But actions are no different – Denmark has already agreed to participate in the formation of the system of European missile defense, and Finland is actively establishing the cooperation of their armed forces with the armies of other Scandinavian and Baltic countries (especially Sweden), and, of course, with the U.S. forces.

Military tandem Sweden-Finland

The most active is the formation of a military tandem Sweden-Finland and, although the intention to create a military bloc with the participation of these countries was officially refuted, in fact, the opposite is happening. The countries expressed their readiness to create joint land and naval brigades, and at the end of March held joint Air Force exercises. They were also joined by the U.S. Air Force, landing at the Estonian airfield “Amari”. Moreover, the integration of Air Forces of those two countries will continue to grow – instead of 62 aging American fighters F/A-18, Finland is going to buy either the Swedish SAAB JAS-39 Gripen of new modification or French Dassault Rafale, and most likely the choice will fall on the Swedes. In both cases, the interaction of the Air Forces of the countries will grow significantly, and in the case of the purchase of JAS-39 it will reach the maximum – even the weapons and spare parts will be standardized.

Now a key objective for the U.S. in this area is pulling these countries into NATO. The population is actively prepped – in the event of a further escalation of the Ukrainian conflict, the accession of Sweden and Finland into NATO may be a matter of time.

Baltic Foothold

Active placement of U.S. troops on the territory of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and the constant NATO exercises held there indicate that these three countries will become a staging ground for NATO forces, including for the aviation of the Scandinavian countries. The geographical location of these countries allows to simultaneously strike in the direction of surrounded by NATO Kaliningrad region, and in the direction of Leningrad and Pskov regions. The armed forces of the Baltic countries themselves are extremely weak and small – collectively they can only provide 23 thousand soldiers, and can not boast of any significant amount of military equipment, and the Air Force in these countries is virtually absent. So the main role of these states is to become a springboard for NATO troops and a battlefield – not the brightest prospect, but it doesn’t bother the anti-people government of these countries, “dancing the tune” of the overseas “ally”.

Norway: Arctic Oil Bait

Among the Nordic countries Norway stands out perhaps by the highest degree of anti-Russian hysteria. And unlike the Baltic States, there is a material substrate – namely the Arctic oil reserves, for which the Norwegians have serious sights, actually – just like us. This adds to the pressure from the United States, leading to a kind of “resonance”. In addition, Americans can “warm up” the Arctic appetites of Norwegians, killing two birds with one stone – forming a new enemy for Russia and increasing the supplies of their weapons. Thus, Norway is in a kind of “trap” based on its own energy ambitions. In regards to a purely military component – Norway has a strong Air Force and Navy, as well as a high level of training of soldiers. Very soon will begin deliveries of American fighters of the 5th generation, F-35, which will be purchased in the amount of 52 units, in addition to (and in the future – replacement) 57 F-16.

The Northern Fist Against Russia

As we can see, the above mentioned countries are increasingly militarizing and uniting around an anti-Russian ideology. Under the patronage of the US a kind of a military “fist” is forming threatening the North-Western borders of Russia. What forces, and in what directions can these states throw against the Russian Federation?

1) A powerful aviation group, able to operate from Murmansk to Kaliningrad region – along the entire length of the potential front line. In total it includes nearly 300 fighters – 62 F-18, 134 JAS-39 Gripenи, 102 F-16. All light class aircraft, but of a good level and in a very serious quantity.

2) Two naval groups – the first in the “Northern seas” (North, Norwegian, Barents) represented mainly by the Norwegian Navy. It includes 5 frigates of Fridtjof Nansen model, equipped with anti-ship missiles (ASM) Naval Strike Missile and Aegis combat information and control system, 6 Skjold missile boats with the same missiles and 6 Ula diesel submarines.

The second – in the Baltic sea, represented by the Navy of Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Here into the battle can be thrown: 5 Danish frigates with American Nagroopi anti-ship missiles with a good air defense system; 5 Swedish diesel-electric submarines with torpedo armament and 9 corvettes with anti-ship missiles RBS-15, including 5 of the Visby class with “Stealth” technology; 8 Finnish missile boats with anti-ship missiles RBS-15 (the maximum range – 200 km), 6 minelayers and 13 minesweepers.

3) Ground forces – we won’t consider the Danish forces here, because geographically they are somewhat “detached” from the action. Finland, Sweden and Denmark collectively can provide 31 thousand soldiers, 284 German “Leopard 2” battle tanks and about 1000 units of various artillery. The Baltic states have another 23 thousand soldiers, absolutely deprived of equipment. As you can see – ground forces is the weakest point of these countries.

In addition there is an American presence in the Baltics – still small, only a few dozen pieces of equipment and several hundred personnel, who officially arrived for exercises, but so far are not in a hurry to go back to the USA.

The Kaliningrad Region is the #1 Target

Kaliningrad region, which is actually surrounded by NATO forces, due to sharing land borders only with Poland and Lithuania, is the most vulnerable target for a potential enemy. Already Lithuania often creates problems for the delivery of goods to this territory, a total ground blockade is theoretically possible, as well as energy blockade.

The Russian armed forces stationed in the Kaliningrad region, are not very strong , but are actively rearming, for example, in 2012 they got the most modern anti-aircraft missile systems S-400. However, the number of troops is small – only about 10 thousand people.

From Poland and the Baltic up to 80 thousand troops can be thrown to battle simultaneously – and that is without US support. The force of the “Northern Fist” can provide powerful air support to the Polish ground forces, and try to create a naval blockade of Kaliningrad. To counter this attempt to take Kaliningrad under a full siege will be the task of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy – its forces are approximately equal to the combined forces of the “Northern fist” Navy: 2 destroyers (956 model), 2 modern patrol ships (model 11540) with “Stealth” technology, 4 patrol ships (20380 model), 12 missile boats, 3 diesel-electric submarines. All these ships are armed with anti-ship missiles of different types, with most characteristics superior to the Scandinavian and American ASMs. So the victory in this confrontation depends more on the level of crew training and third factors, such as intelligence, etc.

The task of the armed forces of RF in case of such an aggressive attempt to take the Kaliningrad region must be the urgent creation of a land corridor through Latvia and Lithuania, here the ground forces and aviation of Sweden, Norway and Finland would try to interfere, engaging some of the forces of the Western military district (ZVO) in the Leningrad region. Of course, the Western military district forces, which comprise up to 40% of the armed forces personnel, are incomparably more powerful, but, nevertheless, the forces of the “Northern Fist” can buy time until the arrival of reinforcements from Western Europe and the USA.

Limited Nuclear Conflict

Is the scenario of a major European war plausible, given large stockpiles of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons of the opposing sides? If the main “battlefield” will become the Baltic States, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Finland, Norway – that is, non-nuclear states, then it is real. Nuclear strikes will not be launched on the countries which don’t possess them. However, in this scenario, the use of tactical nuclear weapons is of little doubt – this is especially true for us since the number of NATO armies exceeds ours several times on almost all indicators. As a result, in such a war the losers will be those countries which now advocate most against Russia. And there will not be any winners – both camps will have hundreds of thousands of soldiers killed and mountains of destroyed military equipment. Nevertheless, mankind, as history shows, can not exist without war for long – and in Europe there was no (large) wars since 1945. How many more years will the nuclear weapons deter aggression and hatred? It is clear that the war would have been burning in Europe since March 2014, if not for this deterrent.

Conclusions and Outlook

1) “The Northern Fist” is really forming. Its goal is geopolitical pressure on Russia and creating a threat to the Kaliningrad region.

2) The troops in Kaliningrad should be maintained in the most combat-ready state, its numbers should be increased.

3) The US through the creation of “mini” military bloc in the Nordic and Baltic countries are squeezing the ring of military encirclement of Russia.

4) Norway, despite its ambitions, is still far from being able to compete with Russia in the Arctic. The Northern fleet of the Russian Federation is a serious force with which it is impossible to compete with the 6 diesel submarines, several frigates and missile boats. Here Russia has 45 submarines, including 23 nuclear, aircraft-carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov”, the heavy nuclear cruiser “Peter the Great” and many other ships.

5) In addition to geopolitical reasons and the US fight against Russia there is a much more urgent task  – to get the military-industrial complex to work at “full speed”, despite the economic problems in most European countries. Now, even the broke Baltic States are beginning to allocate some money for the purchase of military equipment.

6) A big war in Europe may still occur – the voltage level, at times really is approaching critical. And the presence of a large number of weapons and active preparations for war can cause extra confidence.

7) The next step of the expansion of the European missile defense project could be its placement in Scandinavia. The GMD system (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) will be able to intercept some of Russian Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), flying over the North pole to the USA. And most importantly, to intercept them before deploying battle units because most modern Russian ICBMs have multiple warheads. Such a scenario is possible after 2020, when the current phase of the European missile defense will be implemented and the GMD will be refined. The temptation to ignite a war after this step will naturally be higher.

8) Countries in this new anti-Russian bloc, are not the beneficiaries – rather, just the opposite, they will suffer most, as they will become the battlefield. The US, as always, is far away.

9) All the countries that are near Russia and are hosting the elements of the US missile defense must be [officially] warned at the highest level that they will be the first target for the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation and they will not get security, but vice versa – a mortal danger. Such a statement should not be at the level of Ambassador, as was done in Denmark, but at the highest level. The population of these countries must know where the decisions of their governments are leading them.

P. S. REGNUM for some reason focuses on Kaliningrad, although this is only a small part of the problem. The main danger of a strike from the Baltic States is a threat to St. Petersburg in the North and the route Moscow – St.-Petersburg in the East, with the possibility of further advance on Moscow. Murmansk and the base of our Northern fleet will be attacked from Norway. Accordingly, they will synchronize it with strikes on the South-Western front. The task of UAF here will be to die heroically, bounding as many of our troops as possible and saving the maximum number of lives of the Anglo-Saxon Ubermensch. This is the main danger, and the Kaliningrad will not go anywhere. As correctly stated by Nersisyan, the only way to defend Kaliningrad is to cut a land corridor through the Baltic States. Although this would immediately raise the issue of the need for destruction of the U.S. group in Poland, or the signing of the armistice and the withdrawal of American occupation forces from Eastern Europe. Such a dangerous neighborhood cannot be tolerated.

KR: Please share widely in Europe!

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