Along the Western borders: why inspection of the Ministry of defense is concerned by NATO

In the background held in Brussels two-day meeting of defense Ministers of the countries participating in NATO, the representatives of Russia and NATO began a correspondence debate about moving armed forces along the Western borders. June 14, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced plans of accommodation in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland four multinational battalions on high alert. On the same day the Minister of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu has announced a sudden check armed forces.

Very sudden teachings

Unscheduled inspection was the occasion for new applications Stoltenberg. He called called the test of “undermine the stability”. “We have seen information in the media about the new flash exercises. For a long time we have seen a few of these exercises. The problem is that did not respect agreements, including the Vienna document on monitoring and control exercises. Therefore it undermines military transparency”, he explained at a press conference.

Director of the European cooperation Department of Russian foreign Ministry Andrey Kelin said in response that Moscow has always promptly inform foreign military attaches of the sudden teachings. Kelin said that exercises of this type, as are now do not belong to the specified document events. “Actually a new form and nothing more. Violations of existing documents here no no absolutely,” he said. Shoigu explained the sudden checking of the need for “assessment of combat and mobilization readiness. The Minister promised that will test the readiness of command and control system with the deployment of field mobile control centres and associations of involved joints. In addition, the test will relate to the arsenals and bases of storage equipment.

In his annual report, submitted in January 2016, Stoltenberg said that Russia “uses the loopholes in the Vienna document without informing about large military exercises, and using sudden teachings. A source in NATO has previously said that the Alliance is particularly concerned about sudden doctrines of Russia after the events of the spring of 2014, when Russia had annexed Crimea. A military source in NATO said that the exercises of the Alliance, in contrast to the “sudden” doctrines of Russia, planned in advance, sometimes several years before implementation.

In accordance with the OSCE Vienna document on monitoring and control of the exercise, countries should notify each other about exercises involving more than 9 thousand employees, with the exception of those cases when exercises are sudden in nature.

The test will last until June 22, announced Shoigu. Stage sudden checks can be placed in four days that falls under the definition of sudden exercise, says military expert Alexander Goltz. After this period, Russia could declare separate exercises, the number of participants each of which does not exceed 9 thousand. Thus, Russia can not inform the Alliance and not to invite foreign observers, says Goltz. This policy is tied to the secrecy of the mobilization, said another military expert, Viktor Murakhovsky. Current check of the troops is not an act of aggression and not caused by the statements of NATO about the battalions in Eastern Europe, the Director of the Institute of political and military analysis Alexander Khramchikhin. “It is necessary to check. If there are troops — they must be ready to train”, — the expert believes.

Rotation instead of increasing

The Kremlin, in turn, announced measures to “protect the interests and security of Russia in response to the NATO statement on the placement of battalions in Poland and the Baltic States. “Our defense Ministry and the relevant services properly track changes to the deployment of foreign armed forces on our borders, analyzing all these movements and the change in the contingent,” commented on Wednesday morning, press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov.

On the eve of the Alliance members talked about the layout of the multinational battalions. Battalions can be deployed at the beginning of 2017, said on the eve of a high-ranking official of the Alliance. One NATO country will represent the main part of the battalion, but it will strengthen the soldiers of other countries. Each battalion consists of 800-1000 soldiers, will change according to the rotation principle, every six to nine months. Formally, such a system does not violate the agreement between Russia and NATO, according to which the Alliance is forbidden to increase the permanent presence of its troops near the Russian border.

Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that NATO is discussing the resumption of work in the format of Council Russia — NATO. “We believe that the Board is useful for many reasons. One of them is that on such forums we will be able to warn Russia about its military presence in Poland and the Baltic States… Informing each other can reduce the risks of wrong calculations, which is especially important in conditions of high tension,” — said Stoltenberg. The Secretary General said that the Alliance is in favour of the change entering into the Vienna document.