19 June 2021 — Anti-Bellum
Only three days before the 80th anniversary of the German-led Operation Barbarossa invasion of Soviet Russia on June 22, 1941, NATO reports that fifteen German warplanes flew near Russia’s northwest border for four days this month, the 14th-17th.
Altogether over 40 military aircraft from NATO nations participated in Multinational Air Group Days, with the German planes providing the framework for other warplanes from fellow NATO member states Denmark, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the U.S.
For the first time a Multinational Air Group Days deployment was integrated with the mammoth Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) war games in the indicated region, which are led by the U.S.
NATO expressed the relation between the two exercises in this manner:
“The combination of the two training events offered synergies weaving multinational air operations into the maritime play facilitating modern warfighting operations. NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany – an expert for Allied air operations in the region, controlled the aerial training activities….”
The NATO press release from which the preceding is excerpted also quotes Lieutenant Colonel Rüdiger Gerhart, German Multinational Air Group Days Project Officer at the German Air Operations Command in Kalkar, Germany:
“The way ahead is to achieve an initial operational capability in 2023 allowing Germany to lead an air task force and to further expand and solidify that capability to declare full operational capability in 2026.”
The German Air Force, which appeared in the sky over Yugoslavia in 1999 during NATO’s 78-day air war against the nation, after a 54-year hiatus following the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945, is back in business and ready to bomb many of the same cities it did 80 years ago.
German multirole combat aircraft rotate to upgraded air bases in Latvia and Lithuania to participate in NATO’s so-called air policing operations with patrols near the Russian border, particularly near the territory of Kaliningrad, and that of Belarus. Latvia borders the main body of Russia; Lithuania abuts Kaliningrad. Both border Belarus.
NATO stations Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, all of which border Russia. The battlegroup in Lithuania is commanded by the German military and also includes troops and equipment from fellow NATO member states Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway (which also borders Russia). It is located at Rukla, just a few kilometers from Russia.
Thirty German soldiers attached to the NATO battlegroup in Lithuania were sent home two days ago for alleged racist and anti-Semitic behavior and for, to make the anniversary complete, singing a birthday song for Adolph Hitler. Nostalgic for the glory days of their great-grandfathers, no doubt. Surely NATO has provided them with the opportunity to reflect on such matters.
Anyone in Russia or elsewhere who observes that the current configuration of multinational Western military forces along Russia’s entire western border resembles that of 80 years will of course be accused of paranoia. And of “amplifying GRU disinformation.” They will monitored and detected by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga, Latvia, which will report them to the government of their nation, and they may receive a knock on their door.