Is NATO Provoking the Russian Military Build‐​up in Kaliningrad?

Ted Galen Carpenter, senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative

Alarm is growing throughout NATO governments and the Western media about Russia’s continuing, multifaceted military buildup in its Kaliningrad enclave between Poland and Lithuania.

It’s not an entirely new concern. In the spring of 2018, satellite imagery indicated that Moscow was upgrading a nuclear‐​weapons storage bunker there. Another report in October of that year, also based on satellite images, confirmed that the Russians were upgrading four other military installations. One of the reasons that the Trump administration cited for withdrawing the United States from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty was that the Kremlin had developed a new missile, the 9M729, which allegedly violated the treaty’s restrictions on range and other capabilities. As early as 2017, some of those controversial missiles were deployed to Kaliningrad. […]

In addition to the proliferation of NATO “war games,” there has been a dramatic increase in the number of incidents in which NATO aircraft — especially U.S. reconnaissance planes — have approached the Russian border to test the country’s air and sea defenses. Moscow has reacted angrily to such conduct, not only intercepting those aircraft but “buzzing” them and engaging in other unsafe practices. There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of interceptions of U.S. and NATO military planes annually in recent years, principally in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea regions. Russian warships also have shadowed their NATO counterparts, and Russian planes have repeatedly buzzed and harassed U.S. and NATO ships. Läs artikel