US general pushes for more warships in Europe to maintain American dominance. Trump wants allies to pay a premium for hosting US forces. The incompatibility between these two views is striking.
A new tank regiment has been formed in Kaliningrad. This more than doubles the number of tanks in the Russian enclave.
A television performance by two U.S. soldiers has achieved remarkable strategic effect. In fluent Russian they explain what the American soldiers are doing during an exercise in Estonia. It sends the right message to both the Russian minorities in the Baltic countries and to Russia as a potential enemy.
It looks like Estonia will buy a EuroSpike anti-tank missile system, since no other company has made a bid in the competition. Spike is a well-tested missile with a long range and sophisticated features. This is the second step in the modernization of Estonia’s anti-tank force, which began when they acquired the smaller Javelin missile a few years ago.
Estonia has decided to buy American rifles from the Lewis Machine & Tool Company. It is a somewhat unconventional choice. Only New Zealand has purchased LMT rifles at this scale for armed forces before.
The timeline has been approved for the formation of Poland’s new Army Division. This will bring the number of Polish divisions up to four, and it is a part of the ambitious plan to strengthen the armed forces.
Finland has decided to leave the UN Mission in Lebanon, so the integrated Estonian platoon has to leave as well. This raises some interesting questions about benefits and dangers to cooperation among Europe’s armed forces.
Russia is reintroducing political officers – zampolits – that bring back memories of political commissars from the USSR. The goal is to ensure patriotism and political unity behind president Putin’s line.
Long work hours are a problem in the Russian military. But now initiatives are implemented to reduce the burden and make life more bearable for the Russian officers and their families.
Siil 2018 is the largest military exercise in Estonia to date. More than 15,000 troops take part, including 2,000 from other countries. It takes place on 2-14 May.