Vladimir Putin FLEXES MUSCLES with HUGE show of military force — NATO on alert | Информационное Агентство "365 дней"

Vladimir Putin FLEXES MUSCLES with HUGE show of military force — NATO on alert


The arsenal includes 1,000 aircraft, 80 warships and 36,000 tanks.

Added to that is a contribution from China, which is also taking part with 3,200 soldiers, 900 combat vehicles, 24 helicopters and six jets.

While some in the West have downplayed these exercises, reminding us that Vostok – Russian for East – takes place every four years, experts last night warned that we ignore them at our peril.

While it’s true they are being held in Eastern Siberia, Vostok 2018 is not able because this time its trajectory points west to Europe.

Russia’s own military chiefs have confirmed their key aim is to demonstrate how capable they are at moving vast numbers quickly across thousands of miles.

This goes beyond muscle-flexing troops, aircraft and vehicles. Crucially, it requires the ability to secure supply chains and to prove that the days where Nato could rely on the weakness of Moscow’s command and control capabilities are over.

As Russian senator and reserve colonel Frants Klintsevich said: “It suited the West that we lacked combat skills and co-ordination but times have changed. Now we have a different attitude to combat readiness.”

But Nato is taking notice…

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Russia war games

Vladimir Putin

“When you can successfully mobilise 300,000 troops across vast territories with friendly, albeit symbolic nations, it’s undeniably an achievement. It’s the kind of thing only the US has achieved in the Gulf and Afghanistan,” said Fabrice Pothier, a former Nato director and now chief strategy officer at political consultancy Rasmussen Global.

“Nato is taking note that Russia can quickly move troops to the eastern Mediterranean and, potentially, Western Europe.”

In all, Russia’s armed forces number around 1.2 million regular troops, plus another 2.5 million reservists. It commands 36,000 tanks, 10,000 warplanes and 500 warships including an ageing aircraft carrier. Though hampered by the economy – it has a GDP the size of Holland’s – Putin’s reforms are bearing fruit.

There are fewer conscripts and troops are paid more. Where he has invested in technology, he has succeeded – such as the new T-14 main battle tank, and missile systems. Nato remains vulnerable to its Kalibr missile system, which can carry either ballistic or nuclear missiles and has a range of 1,000 miles.

And this week, according to Moscow, it is unveiling a new range of stealth missiles that are supposedly undetectable by radar.

While maritime investment lags behind there are exceptions – including its new Yasen-class nuclear submarines – which boast a range of missiles and had been famed for being “undetectable”. However, last night it emerged that one, the Severodvinsk, had indeed been detected by two Nato subs, the US Newport News and Royal Navy’s HMS Talent. Both managed to shadow the sub for more than an hour in the Mediterranean last week, recording her propulsion system to provide a “sonar hallmark”.

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Vostok’s sheer scale dwarfs Nato exercises in Europe. Next month will see Nato launch one of its biggest in years. But Trident Juncture 2018, taking place in Norway, fields only around 40,000 soldiers – 3,700 British – from more than 30 countries. It will include 120 aircraft, 70 ships and up to 10,000 vehicles.

“While Russia is escalating, Nato’s exercise just doesn’t compare. Its response to the Russian threat has always been reluctant,” added Mr Pothier. “I’ve been in the room where exercises are negotiated, member state by member state. It’s not easy. They cost money.

War games

“Now we are in a different security environment but their emphasis is always defensive. We invite Russian observers at the beginning of any Nato exercise, in accordance with the Vienna agreement.

“Russia doesn’t. Vostok isn’t transparent and involves scenarios which border on being aggressive, such as heavy use of special forces.”

A case in point is the isolated amphibious landings with Russian Spetsnaz troops off the coast of Syria. Russia is rehearsing invasion.

Having to rely on 29 separate treasuries to fund Nato isn’t its only disadvantage. For the past four years, since Putin’s military annexation of Crimea, Nato has been desperately trying to rebuild the “battlemap” of Europe.

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Chinese soldiers

If Nato member states are to send reinforcements eastwards quickly, chokepoints, such as sub-standard bridges, must be identified and dealt with. Despite a £3billion cash injection, it has been going slowly as treasuries have been reluctant to invest in infrastructure, particularly in former Eastern Bloc countries.

“Nato identified the importance of the battle map in 2014. But we’re not even halfway there yet,” admitted a Nato insider.

Prof Trevor Taylor, of the RUSI think-tank, confirmed: “There remains a reluctance from member states to commit to capital projects like this, for fear that they may be viewed as provocation.”

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