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Meanwhile In The Baltic Republics And Poland...


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https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/czechs-cancel-soviet-era-decrees-giving-russian-embassy-free-land-2023-05-17/

PRAGUE, May 17 (Reuters) - The Czech government on Wednesday cancelled Soviet-era decrees that granted the Russian embassy free use of land in Prague and other cities, a further step in a more than two-year diplomatic spat with Moscow worsened by the war in Ukraine.

Prague had in 2021 accused Russian intelligence agents of being behind explosions at an arms depot in the Czech Republic in 2014, leading it to drastically reduce staff at the Russian embassy, then one of central Europe's biggest missions and which continues to operate at a greatly reduced capacity.

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Germany to station 4,000 troops in Lithuania

1 ago

Vilnius has repeatedly called on Berlin to deploy permanent combat troops to the country, which borders the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Monday announced plans to permanently station 4,000 soldiers in NATO ally Lithuania to help secure the alliance's eastern flank. 

"Germany is ready to permanently station a robust brigade in Lithuania," Pistorius said during a visit to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. He added that facilities would need to be built to accommodate the troops. 

Germany already leads NATO's battlegroup in Lithuania, a reinforced battalion of some 1,000 troops. 

Vilnius has repeatedly called on Berlin to send combat troops in the country, which borders the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Germany pledged in June, 2022, to have a full brigade ready to defend Lithuania in case of an attack. 

Until now, however, Berlin had resisted permanently stationing most of the brigade in Lithuania, insisting that the troops could be rapidly deployed from bases in Germany. 

Currently, only the brigade's command post with about 20 German soldiers are in Rukla, Lithuania. The rest remain at various locations within Germany. 

NATO manoeuvres in Lithuania

Pistorius is in Lithuania to observe a joint NATO exercise labeled "Griffin Storm" between the German and Lithuanian armies. Germany transferred 1,000 soldiers and 300 tanks of the 41st Mechanized Infantry Brigade "Vorpommern" to Lithuania to take part in the drills, which will focus on defending NATO's eastern flank. 

This is the third time such exercises are being conducted. The current manoeuvres are scheduled to last until July 7.

[...]

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-station-4000-troops-permanently-in-lithuania/a-66031051

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  • 3 weeks later...

Canada to increase its troop presence in Latvia from 800 to 2,200.

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Prime Minister increases support for key NATO presence

July 10, 2023
Riga, Latvia

In 2014, when Putin invaded Ukraine for the first time, NATO countries came together to put into place assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. Canada’s contribution to NATO’s response was to form Operation REASSURANCE – a military presence in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression and, if necessary, defend NATO territory. Now, as Russia’s ongoing, full-scale war in Ukraine is threatening democracy and our rules-based international system, with impacts like food insecurity and energy insecurity stretching beyond the region, Canada will continue to stand with our Allies and the people of Ukraine – for as long as it takes.

Ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Leaders’ Summit this week, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that Canada is committing $2.6 billion in funding starting in 2023-24, to renew and expand Operation REASSURANCE for three years. This operation is Canada’s contribution to the biggest reinforcement of the Alliance’s collective defence in a generation, and Canada’s largest overseas mission, with up to 2200 troops to be persistently deployed, more than double the current deployment.  

This new funding supports Canada’s ongoing commitment to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) on the Eastern Flank. Since 2017, Canada has served as Framework Nation for NATO’s eFP in Latvia, leading a multinational battle group. Canada has about 800 Canadian troops currently stationed in Latvia, working with the Latvian Land Forces and our Allies to reinforce NATO’s collective defence. As part of the renewal and expansion, Canada will increase the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and capabilities in Latvia. Canada is also ready to deploy additional surge personnel for allied crisis response, cooperative security, and collective defence. As eFP Framework Nation, Canada will continue to lead efforts to scale the combat-capable battle group to brigade size.

Canada will also procure and pre-position critical weapon systems, enablers, supplies and support intelligence, cyber, and space activities to fulfill pledges made under the Canada-Latvia Joint Declaration of June 2022. Canada will continue to work with Latvia and NATO Allies to ensure that eFP infrastructure is in place, and medical and dental services are provided to those supporting Operation REASSURANCE.

[...]

https://www.pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2023/07/10/prime-minister-support-key-nato-presence

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An inevitable reaction to the way that the Russians  played with the natural gas pipeline taps. (And would likely have happened even if Nordstream hadn't been made to go pop, whoever may have done that.)

I note that Sweden wants 5 new nuclear reactors. I also note that the usual suspects are wringing their hands about this, almost as though they've been cued to do so by whoever is pulling their strings.

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https://news.err.ee/1609079423/almost-10-000-people-set-to-join-estonia-s-largest-ever-reservist-exercise

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Last year, the decision was made to increase the number of reservists in Estonia by 10,000. Reservists were then given the opportunity to register voluntarily and able to choose the local unit they wanted to join.

 

the reservists were from ´cold reserve´/ general pool, creating new units that got together first time.

what is remarkable about it is that also very first time  in est. mil forum there was  no bitching from participants about the usual hurry-up-and-wait and other specifics of military stuff, but everything seemed to work as intended, more or less.

 

 

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1 hour ago, urbanoid said:

Meanwhile the Baltic states and Poland remain a threat to Russia.

 

That is what happens when a country buys artillery, rocket launchers, and tanks by the hundreds... 😁

But the Germans are unaware, so it would be a good time to settle some Partitions, among other things. 🤩

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1 minute ago, sunday said:

That is what happens when a country buys artillery, rocket launchers, and tanks by the hundreds... 😁

But the Germans are unaware, so it would be a good time to settle some Partitions, among other things. 🤩

More like 'that's what happens when a country bordering Russia doesn't want to submit to Moscow and plans to defend itself'.

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Yes, but plan on get to the Elbe, then the Rhine.

Perhaps only way to get rid of those German SJWs, too used to peace, and unaccountability.  😄

Edited by sunday
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  • 2 weeks later...
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US to loan Poland $2 billion for military modernization

5 hours ago

Poland wants to replace the old Soviet-era hardware that it handed over to Ukraine with modern military equipment.

The United States has offered Poland a direct loan of $2 billion (€1.89 billion) to support the modernization of its NATO ally's military forces.

"Poland is a stalwart US Ally, and Poland's security is vital to the collective defense of NATO's Eastern Flank," the US State Department said in a statement on Monday.

Poland shares a long border with Belarus — a key Russian ally — which has been a source of heated tension at the edge of both the EU and NATO.

"In addition to its central support role in facilitating international assistance to neighboring Ukraine, Poland has demonstrated its ironclad commitment to strengthening regional security through its robust investments in defense spending," the US State Department added.

Poland to increase defense spending

Beyond Warsaw's issues with Minsk, the NATO member was an early supporter of arming Ukraine against the Russian invasion and has provided the war-torn country with a large number of tanks, fighter jets and other equipment.

But amid Russia's aggression, Warsaw is seeking to bolster its defense capabilities.

To replace the largely Soviet-era equipment that it handed over, Poland is now looking for state-of-the-art military technology from US and South Korean defense companies.

The Biden administration is also providing Warsaw up to $60 million for the cost of the loan in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) which would support "urgent procurements of defense articles and services from the United States," the State Department said.

Poland is aiming to spend 4% of its economic output on defense this year — twice the mark set by the Western defense alliance.

[...]

https://www.dw.com/en/us-to-loan-poland-2-billion-for-military-modernization/a-66923250

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  • 3 weeks later...

German defense minister Boris Pistorius hopes to have a road map for deployment of a Bundeswehr brigade to Lithuania with the local government until the end of the year, stressing again that much will depend upon building up the necessarily military and civilian infrastructure. The plan is to have an advance command in place next year, begin actual troop deployment in 2025, and "have a real lot visible" by 2026. 

Pistorius also said this will not be an already existing brigade, but made up of elements from others. He hopes to cover a lot of the strength with troops volunteering for the assignment with a look to moral; hence the attention to providing schools, kindergardens etc. for families who might want to go along for multi-year tours. Obviously for remaining needs, soldiers will just be involuntarily assigned as anywhere else.

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  • 4 weeks later...

New brigade to be named Panzerbrigade 42, which previously existed between 1995 and 2003 under 13. Panzergrenadierdivision in Brandenburg and Berlin; originally formed as a territorial defense brigade from parts of 1st NVA Motor Rifle Division in 1991.

Elements will be Panzergrenadierbataillon 122 from Oberviechtach, Bavaria (currently under Panzerbrigade 12), and Panzerbataillon 203 from Augustdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia (currently Panzerlehrbrigade 9) in addition to the existing eFP BG Lithuania. 122 is equipped with Puma; 203 gave its remaining Leopard 2A6 to Ukraine and is to be rearmed with A8.

A new armored artillery battalion (215, previously disbanded in 2015) will be established in Augustdorf, while an existing one (131) will move to Oberviechtach from Weiden, also Bavaria, where another new one (375, previously disbanded in 2005) was commissioned recently. Artillery and support troops for the new brigade TBD.

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  • 3 weeks later...

commander of EDF and permanent secretary of MOD were today guests  in foreign policy broadcast

of course mostly about Ukraine situation, but some stuff relevant about us too  🙂

long talk, but unfortunately the translation was bit hurried.

https://news.err.ee/1609177726/experts-russian-losses-are-not-yet-high-enough-to-end-the-war

 

 

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Roadmap for deployment of the future German brigade in Lithuania signed by both defense ministers today. Largely confirms what was already known: technical agreement on infrastructure in early 2024, advance command by the second quarter which will grow to an organizing staff by the end of that year, official activation in 2025, the two new maneuver battalions to move to Rukla and Rudninkai in 2025/26, current BG eFP Lithuania at Rukla transformed into the third battalion in 2026, plus a logistics base to be established in Siauliai. FOC in 2027, part of the "Division 2025" assigned to NATO for defense of Eastern Europe.

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  • 2 weeks later...

And as usual, people find that surprisingly, grand plans have to be paid for, too. This goes for both the Lithuanian side, which was apparently caught on the wrong foot when German defense minister Boris Pistorius suddenly granted their demand for permanent basing rather than quick deployment readiness of a Bundeswehr brigade, and found that the 600 million Euro they had allocated to building up the necessary local infrastructure for the latter won't suffice by far for the former; and of course the German side, where the inspector of the Army just warned of financial and material gaps, duly leaked to media.

Specifically, LTG Alfons Mais stated that the Heer still has only 60 percent of the equipment level for all of its intended missions - from artillery to tents - and that fully equipping the planned additional brigade would bring it down to 55 percent for the rest, because the extra materiél hasn't even been figured into budget plans so far. Earlier, there were also warnings that only ten percent of the planned strength in Lithuania has been covered by volunteers stepping up so far; though actually, half a year after the announcement of a formation suposed to reach FOC in four years I find that level of commitment rather encouraging.

The main organizational challenge probably remains that only two formed battalions will be deployed, the third maneuver element - and probably part of the support units - to be created by restructuring eFP BG Lithuania with allied participation. If we look at the likely structure of a German heavy brigade post-2025, we have

- HQ and HQ company. Probably the easiest thing, since surplus senior ranks can always be found, either in Germany or the current main eFP LIT partners Netherlands and Norway ...

- Signals company. Likely no big deal either.

- Three maneuver battalions of either 44 Leopard or Puma each. NATO actually calls for four maneuver elements, but while previous plans had the three future heavy brigades meet that target, with the assignment of Panzergrenadierbataillon 122 and Panzerbataillon 203 to the new Panzerbrigade 42, that's no longer valid; the three emerging medium brigades only had three Boxer battalions to begin with, and I suspect that either Panzergrenadierbrigade 41, the Franco-German Brigade or even NL 13th Light Brigade will suck in another Panzergrenadier battalion from the heavy brigades just to achieve that. I further suspect that the fourth maneuver element will be claimed to be the

- Reconnaissance battalion, which has been stated to assume "area responsibility" like the old Panzeraufklärer units again; i. e., a return to economy-of-force missions as a contingency to armed reconnaissance. Hence the planned replacement of Fennek by a 6x6 vehicle with 25 mm gun, and the introduction of Boxer in a "heavy reconnaissance" variant, possibly mimicking the Fuchs-mounted "infantry" companies in the old divisional Panzeraufklärer battalions. The current formations include one recon company of 24 Fenneks; one light company with a scout platoon on Fuchs with light drones, and several military intelligence platoons; and one technical company with heavier UAVs, radar, and a maintenance platoon.

- Artillery battalion. Current artillery establishment of the Bundeswehr is a total of ten active and two reserve batteries with PzH 2000 and four with MLRS organized into four battalions of one each observation and rocket, and two to four tube artillery batteries; another battalion, notably designated "Panzerartillerie" instead of the generic "Artillerie" again, was established recently and assigned to Panzergrenadierbrigade 37. Plans are for six brigade and three divisional battalions, with the buildup likely by wheeled RCH 155 and PULS (though 14 out of a total stock of 108 PzH 2000 supplied to Ukraine and eight more cannibalized for spares will be replaced in kind; no such plans known for five out of 40 MLRS). The tracked legacy systems will probably be collected within the three heavy brigades, though the exact composition of battalions is unclear so far. They are however known to include anti-air capabilities, probably a firing unit of six Skyranger 30 on Boxer and/or the recently presented IRIS-T variant.

- Engineer battalion. Near as I can tell, current organization is two armored engineer companies with engineer and EOD squads mounted on Fuchs, Dachs AEV, Biber or Leguan ABLV and Keiler armored mine-clearing vehicles; and one heavy engineer company with unarmored construction, drilling and bridging equipment. This may be subject to revision.

- CSS battalion with three logistics companies of different types, including Büffel ARVs.

Including battalion HQ companies, that's a total of 31, of which only eight are accounted for by the two deployed battalions. Of the current 1,600 troops in eFP LIT, about 1,000 are German; call it another six companies, with the brigade HQ and signals probably the easiest additions to come by because a brigade forward command element is already deployed separately. That's still just over half of the total though. With both the Netherlands and Norway planning to procure Leopard 2A8 for three squadrons of 18 each, a tri-national second tank battalion could probably be established.

Dutch and German artillery and reconnaissance equipment also overlaps considerably with Fennek, PzH 2000 and, in the future, Boxer and PULS, so one or two companies/batteries in each of the respective battalions could conceivably be Dutch at any time. Germany is also procuring Leguan and the Kodiak AEV already in use by the Netherlands, and the former also by Norway. Generic engineering and logistics equipment supply another base for allied contributions; Belgium has repeatedly participated with a logistics company.

Even assuming that out of 31 units, four will be Dutch and two each Belgian and Norwegian at any time - probably a considerable challenge for those countries itself, considering they have contributed at most 200-300 troops in each rotation so far - and allied staff in HQ companies adds up to another three, that still leaves a delta of twelve, or three entire battalions, for the Bundeswehr to cut out of its forces back home. Which in turn will impede deployability of the latter. The issue remains thrilling.

Edited by BansheeOne
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  • 2 weeks later...

That's a welcome reinforcement for eFP Latvia. I wondered where Sweden would commit itself after NATO accession.

Quote

Sweden to send NATO troops to Latvia in 2025

Yesterday, 15:52

Authors: Eng.LSM.lv (Latvian Public Broadcasting)

Sweden plans to send an army battalion of 800 troops to Latvia early next year to reinforce the NATO enhanced forward presence battle group based in Latvia, as announced by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Monday, January 8, LSM's Latvian language service reports.

Sweden is expected to be joining NATO soon, becoming the 32nd Member of the alliance. Before that, it is still necessary to obtain the agreement of Turkey and Hungary to extend the alliance.

Swedish newspaper DN, citing its sources, says it is planned to send a mechanized battalion to Latvia, which will include about 800 soldiers, as well as armored vehicles and combat cars, possibly also “Leopard” tanks. The Swedish army's management plans for this unit to arrive in Latvia in early 2025.

Latvian Defense Minister Andris Sprūds (Progressives) says in a conversation with DN that this is great news for Latvia because the presence of NATO forces is important for Latvia's security.

The Swedish battalion is expected to form part of the Canada-led NATO force's enhanced forward presence battle group.

In the summer of 2023, Latvia and Canada signed an agreement to double the number of Canadian soldiers stationed in Latvia.

https://eng.lsm.lv/article/society/defense/08.01.2024-sweden-to-send-nato-troops-to-latvia-in-2025.a538100/

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Would it be an accurate statement to say a large majority of European voters and politicians are in favor of increased military size and monies to counter Russia at this time? To supply Ukraine with money and equipment so that the Ukrainians can do the actual work of weakening the Russian Army?

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38 minutes ago, Rick said:

Would it be an accurate statement to say a large majority of European voters and politicians are in favor of increased military size and monies to counter Russia at this time? To supply Ukraine with money and equipment so that the Ukrainians can do the actual work of weakening the Russian Army?

I think that in my neck of the woods, politicos perhaps. Voters, not so much.

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Poll results show a stable majority (in Germany) in support of Ukraine and bigger military spending, and I believe ist the same in the Nordic and Central European countries (basically, the closer you are to Russia).

Is it a "large majority"?  Depends on your definition.

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There is a range of surveys on those issues of course. The European Parliament has a page keeping track of some. This is from last October:

Quote

Support for Ukraine: 52% of Austrians support continued EU assistance to Ukraine, with 26% considering it "very important" and another 26% considering it "somewhat important”, while 39% do not, see source. 57% of Germans oppose sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, a decrease from 66% in August, while 35% support the idea, up from 28% in the August survey, see source. Italians have mixed opinions on military support for Ukraine. While 47% believe sending weapons is necessary, many of them want a conditional approach, emphasising accelerated negotiations. The opposition to military aid has grown from 32% to 39%, indicating some uncertainty, see source. Nearly two-thirds of Americans support sending more aid to Ukraine, but opinions vary on whether the investment has been worthwhile. A 55% majority back sending F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv, with Republicans leaning against it, see source. 

Here's the most recent I could find on the quick:

Quote

EUPINIONS POLL: EUROPEAN VOTERS WORRY OVER COST OF UKRAINE WAR AS SUPPORT WOBBLES

15 12 2023

EUROPE

Most Europeans continue to look favourably on EU governments’ support for Ukraine after nearly two years of war with Russia. But as campaigning begins for European elections in June, a new poll by eupinions reveals concern about the economic impact of the conflict and reconstruction in Ukraine. There are signs, too, that resolve is fading, especially in some key countries such as Germany and Poland, over supplying arms, welcoming Ukrainian refugees or letting Ukraine join the European Union. Belgians share those economic worries but remain generally more consistent in support of Kiev.

The latest quarterly EU-wide survey by eupinions, the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s European opinion research tool which is supported by the King Baudouin Foundation, was conducted during September. The survey on attitudes to EU policy has comparative data stretching back to 2015 and has included questions on Ukraine since March 2022, just after the Russian invasion. Soundings on economic and financial issues related to Ukraine were added in the latest questionnaire.

[...]

Belgians have remained more consistent than many other Europeans in their positions toward Ukraine and this support today is broadly in line with the EU average. Some 63% of Belgians still back sending EU arms to Kiev compared to 65% in March 2022 (and 58% would still send Belgian weapons compared to 60% 18 months earlier). Since the start of the war, Belgian support for Ukraine joining the EU has edged down two points to 62% and for taking in refugees by eight points to 76%.

In contrast, support for the EU sending arms to Ukraine has dropped by seven points in both France and Germany. Overall European support for Ukraine joining the Union has fallen six points from the start of the war, it is down fully 12 points in Poland. And while 75% of Europeans still say Ukrainian refugees are welcome, compared to 86% after the invasion, there have been big falls of 18 points to 65% in Poland and 16 points to 70% in Germany.

[...]

https://kbs-frb.be/en/eupinions-poll-european-voters-worry-over-cost-ukraine-war-support-wobbles

Here's an earlier poll on defense spending:

Quote

14 July 2023

Eurobarometer shows public support to defence policy and industry

The latest Eurobarometer published on Monday demonstrates a wide support by the European citizens for a stronger EU defence cooperation

In a EU-wide survey carried out in June, the latest Eurobarometer published on Monday demonstrates a wide support by the European citizens for a stronger EU defence cooperation and increased defence spending in the context of the war of aggression against Ukraine.

The survey’s main takeaways, as illustrated below, are:

1. A steady support for a common defence and security policy:

The support for a common defence and security policy among EU Member States has remained stable at 77%.
Over the longer term, public support has been relatively stable since spring 2020.

The majority of citizens in each Member State are in favour of a common defence and security policy among EU Member States, with support ranging from 92% of respondents in Luxembourg, to 56% in Austria, 65% in Malta and 66% in Bulgaria.

Compared to last winter, the support for a common defence and security policy among EU Member States has increased in 16 countries,  including Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden and Romania.

In contrast, support has declined in eight countries including Malta, Cyprus and Poland.

There has been no change in opinion amongst respondents in Hungary, Estonia and Bulgaria.

[...]

4. Increasing defence spending

Two thirds of EU citizens agree that more money should be spent on defence in the EU (66%).

It is the only other statement that is the most agreed upon in any country.

5. Reinforcing producing capacities for military equipment

More than two thirds (69%) agree that the EU needs to reinforce its capacity to produce military equipment.

https://defence-industry-space.ec.europa.eu/eurobarometer-shows-public-support-defence-policy-and-industry-2023-07-14_en#:~:text=Two thirds of EU citizens,agreed upon in any country.&text=More than two thirds (69,capacity to produce military equipment.

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