The hue and cry over the possibility of a Russian attack on the Baltic states has grown all out of proportion. NATO is using its “Russian boogeyman” campaign to boost its military presence in the region. With Moscow accused of harboring evil plans, a robust military infrastructure is emerging in the immediate proximity of Russia’s borders. The US footprint is huge. Whatever Russia does (such as deploying its forces or conducting military exercises), it is presented by the Western media as a demonstration of hostile intent, while NATO’s highly provocative behavior is kept out of the spotlight. Any nation would be concerned over war preparations on its doorstep that are being conducted by an unfriendly alliance. Anyone who is impartial would confirm that Moscow’s concern is more than justified.
The US Defense Department’s 2019 fiscal budget became law on Aug. 13. It allocates $6.5 billion for the European Defense Initiative (EDI), $2 billion more than the previous fiscal budget, and nearly double the $3.4 billion the military received in fiscal 2017. The increase is evidence of the focus on building up a robust military force to threaten Russia. Infrastructure improvements in the Baltic states and Poland are a high priority.
According to the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, the updates to the Lithuanian armed forces’ Kazlų Rūda training ground, in the district of Marijampolė, to get it up to NATO standards, are almost complete. The facility will be used to train air crews and controllers. This is a joint project with the United States, funded through the European Reassurance Initiative. American B-52 strategic bombers have already dropped dummy munitions there. The firing range was part of the NATO Saber Strike exercise that was held in June. US National Guard soldiers are there to prepare Kazlų Rūda for another exercise.
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