Earlier this month, the Estonian Center for Defense Investment (ECDI) announced the purchase of Blue Spear 5G SSM land-to-sea missile systems from Israel. With a maximum range of 290 kilometers (approximately 180.2 miles), the Blue Spear missile system can reach targets across both the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, and can also be used to strike both moving and stationary targets at sea in all weather conditions, day or night.
For international observers, military exercises are a key litmus test of a country’s strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, they reflect that country’s view to the strategies of its supposed opponents. In that sense, this year’s Zapad (“West”) exercises conducted in Russia and Belarus were no different. They revealed Russia’s perceptions of the way the NATO will fight, given the still relatively unlikely event of war between the two. Likewise, the exercises remained highly scripted as in the past, and the scenarios involved were largely the same.
Baltic Security Foundation is proud to announce the publication of the Baltic Cyber Resilience Report. This report includes the assessment of cybersecurity issues in the three Baltic states, looking at the most important regional, bilateral and multilateral levels. This publication was made possible with the support of Microsoft NV and Mr. Uldis Šalajevs. To access the full report, click here
Baltic Security Foundation is proud to annouce the publication of the Baltic Sea Security Initiative Report in conjunction with the Jamestown Foundation (Washington, D.C.). The report is the product of cooperative research conducted between 2019-2020 with a number of regional security experts from throughout the Baltic Sea Region, providing both assessments and recommendations for policy makers in the fields of defense and deterrence, societal security, energy security, and more. Click the link below to access the full report.
For about the last two months, Lithuania has been in the throes of a migration crisis like it has never seen before. In retaliation to the sanctions placed on his regime following the forced grounding of a passenger airliner to arrest journalist Roman Protasevich, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenka promised to force Europe (and in particular, Lithuania) to deal with drug smuggling and migrant flows on their own. Aside from Lukashenka’s claim to have been stopping migrants and smugglers in the past, the statement gives clear indication of intent to weaponize migration and the flow of contraband.
On June 14, heads of state from all NATO members met in Brussels for the 2021 NATO summit. This occurred smack in the middle of U.S. President Biden’s much touted trip to Europe, and overall received little media attention. A Google search of the summit produces primarily NATO press releases, the odd news article here or there (but only from mainstream yet highly partisan sources, fringe outlets, and little else), few analyses, and a preponderance of pre-summit anticipatory articles from news sources and think tanks alike.
This month, Lithuania announced the arrival of a 164-tonne transformer as part of the ongoing process for synchronization with the Continental European power grid. This step is considered crucial for successfully exiting the Soviet era BRELL agreement, in which the Baltics’ power grids are controlled by Moscow. Exiting BRELL is a major component of the Baltics’ overall strategy not only for energy security, but for their national security broadly. Under the BRELL agreement, the Baltics have been synchronously connected to the Integrated Power System/United Power System (IPS/UPS) grid with Russia and Belarus since the end of the Soviet period.
Once again, Ukraine faces the threat of Russian aggression. Surrounded on nearly all sides, it faces a potential crisis of existence, as Moscow sees an opportunity to take on yet more ambitious objectives against its hapless neighbor. Unfortunately for Ukraine, nothing guarantees its security, and it is grossly, obscenely outmatched by its adversary. What exactly Russia intends to do remains a mystery, but one thing is clear: Russia plans to attack Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden has claimed that Nord Stream 2, the controversial Russo-German pipeline project, is a “bad deal for Europe” and has stated his administration’s opposition to the project. At face value, that would appear to be a rare continuity with the previous administration, but a deeper dive into the various perspectives in Washington reveals a much more complicated position. Despite spoken commitments to the bipartisan sanctions regime instituted by the Trump administration, it appears that the Biden administration is ready to wash its hands of the issue and move on.
In the world of analysis, contrarian viewpoints are equally disliked and necessary. They help shape a more robust understanding of the situation at hand and can prepare countries for the otherwise unexpected. As much of Europe celebrates Joe Biden taking the helm in the United States after the much despised Trump administration, it is worthwhile to take a step back and question whether or not that enthusiasm is really merited. As such, this paper puts forth an unabashedly contrarian viewpoint for the sake of an enriched understanding of the world as it may be going forward, lest the Baltics be caught off guard in the broader optimism of their European counterparts.