Military Exercises in Kaliningrad Highlight Maritime Threats

By Matthew Thomas in Security

May 26, 2020

For eight or nine days beginning on April 20th, around the same time that NATO and Estonian forces were holding the Spring Storm Exercises, Russia held exercises of its own in the Kaliningrad Oblast’. Though not as grandiose in scale as a May 3rd article in Izvestia would suggest, the exercises do demonstrate that Russia is working to practice its maritime capabilities. The main events of the exercises centered around what may have been two amphibious landing drills and also featured anti-aircraft and anti-submarine drills, simulated naval missile attacks, simulated aerial attacks on naval vessels, and mine-laying and mine-clearing exercises.

Spring Storm Exercises Demonstrate Ongoing Commitment to Deterrence, Readiness

By Matthew Thomas in Security

May 12, 2020

Each year, Estonia hosts Spring Storm (Kevadtorm), bringing together forces from all across NATO to conduct field and live-fire exercises. Though smaller in scale and participation due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s exercises concluded successfully last week. Spring Storm demonstrates Estonia and its allies’ commitment to ensuring readiness in case of attack, contributing to the credibility of NATO’s deterrence posture on the Eastern Flank. Military exercises are crucial for training and readiness purposes, as new conscripts/recruits and reservists have an opportunity to train alongside active duty personnel.

Javelin Deliveries and the Prospects of Tank Warfare in the Baltics

By Matthew Thomas in Security

April 22, 2020

At the beginning of this month, the U.S. delivered 128 javelin anti-tank missiles to Estonia, part of ongoing cooperation between the two countries. This will provide another moderate boost to the credibility of Estonia’s deterrent posture. These kinds of smaller procurements are an important part of the broader effort to build up a credible defense in case of Russian aggression and to signal that the risk outweighs the reward for attacking the Baltic States.

The Three Seas Initiative

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

March 16, 2020

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would commit up to $1 Billion in support for the Three Seas Initiative. In so doing, Congress and the administration are providing much needed assistance toward developing the economic and security infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. This initiative, launched in 2015 by the Polish and Croatian presidents, aims to make Central Europe a “backbone of European resilience,” in the words of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

Interoperability at Sea: Sweden and Finland

By Matthew Thomas in Security

March 12, 2020

Last week, Finland and Sweden conducted naval cooperation exercises in the Baltic Sea. Given that these two countries have a long tradition of close cooperation in military affairs, this seems fairly mundane. But these exercises were highly unusual, as Finland’s FNS Uusimaa took orders from Swedish naval command, and Sweden’s HMS Helsingborg received orders from Finland’s command center in Turku. This was the first time in the history of Finnish-Swedish naval cooperation that ships took orders from the opposite country’s command.

Defending the Suwałki Gap

By Matthew Thomas in Security

February 27, 2020

At the end of last month, Lithuania and Poland announced that the two countries would each assign a brigade to NATO Headquarters in Poland to “train and act together” for the defense of the Suwałki Gap. According to the signed act of affiliation, Lithuania’s Iron Wolf Mechanized Brigade and Poland’s 15th Mechanized Brigade will train jointly to prepare for operations in the Gap, though they will remain under their own national command.

Baltic Fund

By BSF Team in Activities

February 2, 2020

On November 28, 2019, Baltic Security Foundation team participated in the NATO Eastern Flank Security conference, hosted by Warsaw Institute. Following a keynote speech by Piotr Naimski, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, Mr Olevs Nikers spoke at the panel on energy security, covering political and economic issues of nuclear power and natural gas, while Mr Otto Tabuns gave his views on intraregional and European challenges for Baltic security at the discussion on defence.

Baltic Sea Security Initiative

By BSF Team in Activities

February 2, 2020

BSSI gathers Baltic Sea region experts to assess and recommend better solutions in the fields of defence, societal security, economic security and cybersecurity. The experts look at what the countries of Northern, Eastern and Central Europe can do more efficiently together to achieve stronger regional security. The initiative consists of eight workshops in the Baltic Sea countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark etc.). The main conclusions of the initiative will be publicly presented and discussed in a conference in Helsinki, Finland in the Spring 2020.

Baltic Security Foundation Team Activities in November 2019

By BSF Team in Activities

November 30, 2019

This month the Baltic Security Foundation team has been very active on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, continuing existing projects and pursuing new areas of cooperation with likeminded experts and stakeholders. On November 8, the Foundation team participated in the second annual Baltic Advocacy Day in Washington D.C., as well as the 13th annual Baltic Conference organized by the Joint Baltic American National Committee that represents major Baltic-American organizations. This gave an opportunity to speak with members of several offices of U.

Belarus: An Overlooked Key to Baltic Security

By Matthew Thomas in Policy

November 24, 2019

Winston Churchill once famously quipped that “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. A keen observer will notice that Alyaksandar Lukashenka’s Belarus is much the same. All too often, Western analysts have made the mistake of grossly oversimplifying Belarus’ relationship with Russia, as well as its domestic political affairs and broader foreign policy. This has led the West to neglect relations with Minsk, where despite a less than ideal government, great strategic opportunity lies, and where there is also significant strategic risk.