Saber Strike 2018, a major US-led multinational exercise, wrapped up in Poland on 15th of June. The exercise, which began on 3rd of June, mobilised around 18,000 troops from 19 NATO Allies and partners. It provided an opportunity for forces to enhance their readiness and train across the Baltic States and Poland.
Started in 2011, maneuvers’ goal has been to train participants on command and control as well as the ability for the member armies to operate together. Before finally finishing in Poland, this year’s exercise included operations in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
What’s interesting about 2018’s Saber Strike is that it is the largest exercise for all the time from the beginning. For reference, the first games involved 2,000 troops from 8 countries. This brings up the question, what are the reasons for such scaling up of these war games?
According to official data, Saber Strike is an integrated, synchronized, deterrence-oriented field training exercise, designed to enhance interoperability and improve readiness of the Battle Groups in the Baltics. Participation in multinational exercises such as Saber Strike enhances professional relationships, military capabilities and improves overall coordination with allies and partner militaries to conduct a full spectrum of military operations.
In fact, after analyzing the process of the exercises it becomes clear that they are entirely directed against Russia.
Thus, NATO troops practiced actions aimed to protect the Suwalki corridor. This stretch of about 100 kilometers is bordered by Lithuania and Poland. Such a corridor could serve as an excellent route for the transfer of Russian troops to the Kaliningrad region in case of armed conflict between Russia and NATO. In addition, the offensive actions of Alliance forces to capture Kaliningrad were worked out during Saber Strike exercise.
Let’s note that NATO actively conducts exercises at the borders of Russia for the past few years. Commenting on the Alliance’s actions, Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko called them Russia’s security threat. According to his words, Washington is actually moving to the scheme of the Cold War trying to talk with Moscow from a position of strength again. This situation hinders the development of partnership, threatens the regional security and creates the risk of a large-scale war.
By the way, not all the Baltic residents are satisfied with endless NATO exercises. People are tired of the fact that NATO soldiers receive more rights every year. The call of the Alliance is simple – “Do not be afraid of foreign troops, they had come to protect you”. Of course, people try to smile during a meeting with NATO soldiers. But it’s not so easy to smile when representatives of foreign army have more benefits than you in your own country.
For example, deputy of Klaipeda self-government Vyacheslav Titov expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the soldiers of the Alliance were allowed to use public transport for free during the military exercises this year. Titov called for justice: “In our city the right for free using of public transport granted only for children aged up to seven years. I disagree with these privileges for NATO soldiers. We have military training fields – let them go there and shoot for free”.
Also, people were asked not to worry about large groups of soldiers and military vehicles during NATO exercises. All Alliance soldiers were given the right to land without warning in any territory in Lithuania with no ban on the invasion of private property.
Moreover, the movement of military columns along the roads caused numerous traffic incidents and huge discomfort to people. After that, noisy flights of aircraft and helicopters didn’t let people to sleep. Also NATO soldiers scared women and children by shots while practicing fights in the city.
Summarizing, I would like to say that NATO’s often held exercises at Russian borders are useless and very dangerous for the Baltic States. And not only because they interfere with people life, frighten them and break country’s infrastructure. The situation is that Washington is actually preparing to use the territory of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as a springboard for offensive anti-Russian military operation. And it is quite obvious that this fact is understood in Moscow and Russians are preparing for an adequate response. Taking into account the fact that Moscow possesses nuclear weapons, there is nothing good to expect for the population of the Baltic States.