Author Joel C. Rosenberg is reporting that "provocative" war games later this fall will put 100,000 Russian troops on the borders of the Baltic States—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—as well as Eastern European members of NATO.
He wrote about them for his personal blog Thursday afternoon, linking to an interview he did with The New York Times on the subject of heightening tensions between Russia and the West:
Moscow is gearing up for massive war games later this fall that could put upwards of 100,000 Russian troops on the borders of the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Each of these countries are NATO members. Each lived for decades under the cruelty of Soviet occupation. Each are increasingly worried Putin may be interested in seizing them and putting them once again under Russian hegemony. It’s a concern I share but am concerned not enough leaders in the West do.
He further couched those concerns in light of other recent developments, including the announced expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomats from Russia in response to a new round of U.S. sanctions, recent Russian flybys with NATO aircraft, and the positioning of new military hardware in the Kaliningrad region adjacent to the Baltics.
The U.S. and its NATO allies haven’t taken these threats lightly, though. As of the most recent analysis, there are now 7,200 NATO soldiers on the ground in Poland and the Baltic States, with up to 16,000 planned by year’s end. An additional 40,000 troops will take part in a “rapid response” force stationed in Germany, as well.
While substantially fewer numbers than were seen during the height of the Cold War, these troop commitments are certainly moving in that direction. Russia claims this build-up is itself a provocation against its interests in the region.