On Thursday of this week, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via text messages to their mobile devices regarding an announcement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that the U.S. would be expanding its military presence in Bulgaria and Romania, including new deployments of warships, aircraft, troops and land-based missile defense installations to the region. Secretary Hagel made his announcement while visiting Romania. He is in Europe along with President Obama who attended the G7 economic summit in Brussels, D-Day commemorations in France, as well as a sweep through various eastern European nations in an attempt to further reassure regional NATO allies.
Earlier, President Obama pledged $1 BILLION dollars to help boost NATO military preparedness in Europe, saying that U.S. will be prepared for any contingencies if Russia tries to threaten any other neighboring countries.
In turn, Russia has warned the NATO military alliance not to shift forces East. Russia's Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, is quoted by Russian media outlets as stating that if the Kremlin sees "a shifting of NATO's military potential towards the 'eastern wing," Russia will take measures necessary so its security is not affected.
Additionally, for many years Russia has been protesting U.S. efforts to erect a so called missile shield in Eastern Europe, one which the U.S. publicly states is aimed at countering threats from the Middle East. Russia is clearly not buying this explanation and sees the true purpose of the proposed installations as an effort to be able to take out their own missiles during the boost phase of a launch. In May of last year, the Russian Defense Ministry made clear that they would use "destructive force preemptively" to stop the United States placing such installations in Eastern Europe. Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dimtry Medvedev have publicly reaffirmed such a stance.
In response to the buildup of NATO forces in bordering countries, the Russian Defense Ministry this week announced their Strategic Missile Troops, whose primary task is nuclear deterrence, will conduct around 120 drills and training exercises over the next six months. In addition, the Defense Ministry announced the scheduling of an additional 12 intercontinental ballistic missile launches between now and the end of 2014.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
Here at AlertsUSA, we see these escalations on both sides as particularly dangerous. From NATO's perspective, tens of thousands of Russian troops remain on Ukraine's borders, pro-Russian forces within Ukraine, along with imported Chechen fighters and Russian Special Forces, are waging a vicious battle with the Ukrainian military in the eastern part of the country. The Russian Navy and Air Force are growing more aggressive and provocative in their patrols, ballistic missile tests are being conducted with regularity and there are increasing calls in ethnic Russian-dominated portions of other regional nations for Moscow's intervention.
From Russia's perspective, they have seen several decades of the progressive eastward expansion of a powerful military alliance (NATO) which wages war around the globe at will now undertaking a buildup of forces along their western border, U.S. and EU meddling in the internal politics of Russian friendly nations, U.S. and other NATO warships now a permanent presence in the Black Sea, plans to deploy ballistic missile installations in neighboring countries, increasing economic sanctions and more.
At some point, this confrontation will come to a head, and when it does, the result will be ugly. And as Russia knows full well they are unable to win a conventional war against the full blown might of NATO, their military doctrine openly relies on the use of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons (also see this).
AlertsUSA continues to monitor developments in the region and will immediately notify service subscribers of changes in the overall terrorism threat environment as events warrant.