NewsLithuania reports significant Russian military buildup in the Baltic

Lithuania reports significant Russian military buildup in the Baltic

The coast of the Baltic Sea is being destroyed by a winter storm, with fallen cliffs and uprooted trees visible in Oslonino, Poland, on January 13, 2024. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The coast of the Baltic Sea is being destroyed by a winter storm, with fallen cliffs and uprooted trees visible in Oslonino, Poland, on January 13, 2024. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | NurPhoto
10:51 AM EST, March 8, 2024

According to Lithuanian intelligence, Russia is gearing up for a prolonged confrontation with NATO. The Baltic Sea region is a focal point in this scenario. Since Finland's accession to NATO in 2023, Russia has been systematically bolstering its presence in the Baltic vicinity.

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The most recent report from Lithuanian intelligence, released on Thursday and focusing on national security matters, indicates that the Kremlin has initiated significant reforms of its armed forces. These modifications are designed to enhance Russia's military capabilities, particularly in the Baltic Sea area.

"Planned structural and command system reforms are already underway. Many of these adjustments are being implemented in the Kaliningrad Oblast and in western Russia," the report highlighted.

Lithuania has observed that, following Finland's NATO membership in 2023, Russia stationed warships on Lake Ladoga equipped to launch Kalibr anti-ship cruise missiles. Additionally, during this period, Russia repositioned five heavy Tu-22M3 bombers to the Baltic region.

Russia advances westward

The report also underscores that Russia, despite not meeting its operational goals in Ukraine, continues to funnel substantial financial resources into the conflict with no intent to wind down the confrontation.

"Furthermore, Russia is bracing itself for an extended standoff with NATO, including efforts in the Baltic Sea area. The strategy behind these moves is to incrementally extend its military reach westward," the report states.

It is also highlighted that Russia exceeded its initial budget for the Ukraine conflict in the first half of 2023 alone. By that time, the costs surpassed the entire year's projected budget. In 2023, Russia has allocated at least one-third of its military budget for 2024, amounting to over 10 trillion rubles, or roughly 102 billion EUR (about $111 billion).

Belarus enhances its nuclear capabilities

Moreover, Lithuanian intelligence reports that Belarus, under Russian influence, is advancing its nuclear weapons capabilities. Efforts to upgrade nuclear weapons storage facilities are in progress, and Belarusian Armed Forces personnel are being trained in handling these weapons.

In 2023, Belarus received a significant influx of new military equipment and weaponry from Russia, which includes Iskander missile systems with a reach of about 310 miles, a battalion of BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, S-400 air defense missile systems, and Mi-35M attack helicopters, as noted in the document.

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