Russia is positioning its forces to potentially engage the new NATO troops in Ukraine:
On Monday, President Vladimir Putin gave the order to bring Russia’s Northern Fleet, separate units of the Western Military District and the Airborne Troops to full alert in snap combat readiness exercises. The drills involve a total of 38,000 troops, 3,360 military vehicles, 110 aircraft and helicopters, 41 ships and 15 submarines.
Snap military exercises will be held in the sea, as well as on the ground and in the air until March 21. Their ultimate goal is to improve the military capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces, according to the Defense Ministry.
And then completing the trifecta, in addition to Crimea and Kaliningrad, as many as 30 army air force crews of Russia’s Western Military District are being redeployed from airfields in the Leningrad and Smolensk regions to a military airfield near the Arctic Circle as part of surprise combat readiness drills being held in the Northern Fleet and the Western Military District, according to an Interfax report.
It’s far from a full mobilization, but then, given the relatively small number of NATO troops that have been established in Ukraine and the Baltics, the Russians don’t need much to counter them.