In the USS KEARSARGE off the harbor of Stockholm – the sight of this massive warship with 26 warplanes and 2,400 sailors and sailors was among the delights, if ever there was a powerful symbol of how much Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed Europe. Tourist boats plying in this port are definitely available.
“No one in Stockholm can miss the presence of this great American ship in our city,” said Michael Biden, Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish Armed Forces, standing on the deck of a waterfall attack ship in the shadow of the MV-22 Osprey. Clear skies on Saturday. “This ship has more skills than I could have gathered in a garrison,” he wondered.
In this perennial neutral country that suddenly became neutral, Sweden and Finland expressed interest in joining NATO.
But the ship is a warning to Sweden and Finland of their own potential obligations in the event of a conflict, as General Mark Millie, a senior U.S. military commander, made clear during a visit Saturday.
“The Russians have their own Baltic navy,” said General Millie, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In essence, the Baltic will become a NATO area, with the exception of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad.
“From a Russian point of view, speaking militarily would be very difficult for them,” General Millie said.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson appeared at a news conference with General Milli on board a ship trying to emphasize NATO’s defensiveness.
But military experts say that by joining Sweden and Finland in an alliance, there is a clear expectation that they will contribute to the maritime chokeholds that NATO could cause in the Baltic Sea in the event of a war with Russia. To historically non-aligned countries.
While negotiations with Turkey will keep their legitimate members in the military alliance, both countries want security assurances from the United States and other NATO allies in the meantime. Sweden’s Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told reporters in Washington two weeks ago that the Pentagon had promised several interim security measures: US naval warships would be steaming in the Baltic Sea, air force planes would be flying over the Scandinavian skies, and US troops would be training and training experts. Possible Russian cyber attacks.
But while President Biden has promised that the United States will help protect Sweden and Finland before they join the alliance, US officials have refused to say what form that aid will take. Military exercises.
The refusal of any NATO country to send genuine troops into Ukraine, Nordic officials have acknowledged, reveals the difference between the promises of military assistance to allies and the attack on one person under a Senate-approved agreement – NATO’s most popular article5.
However, Kearsarge is participating in exercises in the Baltic Sea to teach NATO, Swedish and Finnish troops how to conduct amphibious attacks – storm land captured by Russia. This is the most complex type of combat operation – D-Day landing during World War II – which requires coordination between aircraft, land and naval units, which military planners call the “integrated weapons” mission.
If the exercises go according to plan, thousands of sailors, sailors, pilots and other troops from 16 different countries will capture a beach head in the Stockholm archipelago.
Military experts say this is a military operation that Russia has not yet been able to pull out of Ukraine, and that the inability to do so is why Russia has not been able to capture the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa. .
When thousands of Russian sailors landed at Mariupol on the coast of Azov in southern Ukraine on February 25, they did so about 43 miles east of the city, Pentagon officials said, avoiding a rival waterfall attack.
Russia-Ukraine war: major developments
On the ground. As airstrikes intensify in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, a key center of Russia’s offensive, Street fighting broke out in the city of Sivrodonetsk. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that the conflict had turned into a “hostile war” and advised allies to be prepared “for long distances”.
The idea that the Russian military was an efficient machine was broken, and Sweden and Finland’s demand for joining NATO led to the invasion of Ukraine. This is the biggest unintended consequence of Putin’s decision. Instead, Mr. Putin now faces the prospect of a NATO military alliance that will not only be on his doorstep, but also around a part of his home.
The annexation of Latvia and Estonia by NATO in 2004 extended its Baltic border with Russia by more than 300 miles; Joining Finland’s alliance would add another 830 miles, placing St. Petersburg almost within artillery territory.
Sweden, meanwhile, shares a maritime border with Russia, as does Finland. Within a day of Finland’s leaders announcing that their country would apply to NATO members, Kearsarge, named after the Civil War Union Sloop, famous for sinking Confederate ships, headed to join the Finnish and Swedish navies for training.
In fact, NATO has planned several force programs with Sweden and Finland. Charlie Salonius-Pasternak, a military expert at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki, says: “There are now many exercises that are not on the exercise schedule.
The growing partnership is a two-way street. According to NATO, Sweden and Finland’s entry allows military planners to reconsider all of Northern European defenses, beyond closing alliances around Russia’s western border. In the past, the coalition had to compromise on where to concentrate troops, headquarters and command and control.
All of this is undoubtedly Mr. Impressing Putin, he has long complained about expanding military alliances in his own sphere of influence.
“There is going to be a continuous presence of non – Finnish military units in Finland,” he said. Said Salonius-Pasternak. “Are they the key to Finnish security? No. But it probably adds to the calculation of our eastern neighbors.