NATO Kicks Off Massive Baltic Drills As Biden Affirms US Weapons ‘Now Being Used Inside Russia’

In the shadow of the Russia-Ukraine war, and right next door, NATO has kicked off its massive annual military exercises in the Baltic Sea. “Baltic Operations 24” is about to be in full swing, kicking off formally on Friday, and involves over 9,000 personnel and more than 50 ships and 85 aircraft, comprising 20 countries

Crucially, NATO’s newest admittee Sweden is part of the drills as a full member state. The Kremlin is watching closely given the obviously surging regional tensions which has increasingly seen all of Europe put on a war footing. 

US military magazine Stripes states that it will feature “amphibious, gunnery, anti-submarine, air defense and mine clearance operations, according to a statement from U.S. 6th Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, or STRIKEFORNATO. Explosive ordnance disposal, unmanned underwater and surface vehicle exercises, and medical response scenarios also are planned.”

To be expected, the exercises are being led to by the country which has from the start dominated NATO’s course and strategy: the United States – with Naval Forces Europe-Africa/6th Fleet and commanded by STRIKEFORNATO, headquartered in Oeiras, Portugal – having charge over the operations. There have been a series of similar major drills since January, but this one comes as US-Russia tensions have reached a new height, given the Biden administration’s resent greenlight for Kiev to use American weapons to strike inside Russian territory.

President Biden himself has finally affirmed that essentially yes – US weapons are now being used against Russian soil. He said this in an interview, in so many words (“limited” to within near Russia’s border [Belgorod region] while mumbling through the response) while in Normandy, France for D-Day commemoration events…

Russia appears to be ‘answering’ with some deeply provocative drills of its own, as we reported earlier…

In a show of force perhaps prompted by President Biden’s authorization of Ukrainian strikes inside Russia using US weapons, a group of Russian warships is en route to the Caribbean, a senior US official has told McClatchy and the Miami Herald. White House officials alerted members of Congress to the Russian move on Wednesday. 

The deployment signals Russia’s capacity to operate globally while still fully engaged its third year of war in Ukraine. “This is about Russia showing they are still capable of some level of naval power projection,” the official said. “We should expect more of this activity going forward.” In March, Ukraine claimed it had either sunk or disabled a full third of Russia’s ships in the Black Sea.

CBS News detailed that long-range Russian bombers will rendezvous with the ships for combined naval and air maneuvers.

Such exercises are not without precedent: Russia conducted similar combined-arms Caribbean maneuvers in 2019, and had a streak of sending ships into the Western Hemisphere at least annually from 2013 to 2020. Following the summer exercises, Russia is expected to engage in a worldwide naval exercise this fall, sources tell CBS. 

Future historians might look back on all of this and describe it as the lead-up to WW3… or worse, we could already be in its beginning phases, but neither side has fully acknowledged the dark reality as of yet. 

Does this concern anyone? “Strikes are authorized just across the border”



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