by Thomas C. Theiner
Over the past 12 months Russia’s air force flew a series of aggressive combat patrols over the Baltic Sea, including mock nuclear strikes against Sweden’s capital Stockholm, to assess the reaction time and preparedness of Sweden’s air force. Since October 2014 Russia’s Navy has sent submarines into Swedish territorial waters to assess the capabilities and preparedness of Sweden’s Navy. The results: Sweden is defenseless.
Last week Russia’s air force progressed from testing military preparedness to dry runs for a major air assault. A combination of transport planes and fighter jets flew from Russia over the entire Baltic Sea to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. While Sweden didn’t even manage to get a plane in the air, Italian air force jets flying out from Šiauliai air base in Lithuania intercepted and identified the Russian jets. The Italian fighters were outnumbered 4 to 1.
The obvious targets of Russian aggression along the Baltic Sea, namely Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, all share a land border with Russia, so there is no need to mount a large scale air assault to overrun these tiny states. But to keep these three nations occupied and oppressed, Putin must keep the US air force and the US Navy out of the Baltic Sea. This is why Russia is preparing to assault, occupy and fortify Sweden’s Gotland Island.
If Russia controls Gotland and bases S-300 or S-400 long range air-defense missile systems and K-300P Bastion-P long range anti-ship missile systems on the island, then US air force planes cannot reach the Baltic States and US Navy ships cannot pass the Danish Straits to enter the Baltic Sea. Russia has already S-300 and K-300P stationed in Kaliningrad along with tactical nuclear 9K720 Iskander missiles, but as Poland’s military could overrun Kaliningrad and destroy Russia’s anti-ship and air-defense systems there, Russia will occupy Gotland a few hours before the attack on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania begins. And here is how Russia intends to win this war:
Putin orders Russia’s military to perform another round of large scale maneuvers. NATO monitors these maneuvers, but refrains from anything proactive like raising its own state of readiness to avoid “provoking Russia”. Just as in earlier maneuvers the three Ropucha-class landing ships of the Baltic Fleet leave Kronstadt harbor bound for Kaliningrad. On Gotland people are in bed, when at 2am Special Forces from Russia’s 561st Naval Reconnaissance Spetsnaz Group, dropped off earlier by a Russian submarines, attack all communications points on the island, severing mobile phone, internet and telephone connections with mainland Sweden, not just to prevent the Swedish government from being alerted, but also to prevent civilians from uploading images and videos of the coming occupation of Gotland.
With all key installations having been mapped diligently by Russian spies, disguised as tourists, during earlier summers, the men of the 561st Naval Reconnaissance Spetsnaz Group set out to prepare the landing zones for the paratroopers of the Russian Airborne Forces, while the Ropucha-class ships change course and now head straight for Northern Gotland. A Russian task force of transport planes and fighter jets carrying a regiment of paratroopers enters the Northern Baltic Sea and is picked up by Estonian radar operators, which alert NATO’s air policing units at Šiauliai. Two fighter jets immediately scramble to intercept the Russian air group, whose size is unknown as Russian radar jamming planes accompany it.
After 15 minutes the NATO planes reach the Russian air group over the Northern Baltic Sea and report its astonishing size back to base. As the two NATO fighters are forbidden to interfere, unless the Russians enter NATO airspace, they only observe. At that moment the Russians are 150km from Gotland or 12 minutes from dropping the paratroopers.
By now Russian Special Forces have taken control of Gotland’s airport at Visby. Air traffic controllers have been eliminated, the communications with Sweden severed and the runway is illuminated. As everywhere on Gotland the Russians face no resistance as Sweden has exactly zero active troops on Gotland. Not a single active soldier is based on Gotland: no air defenses, no land defenses, no naval defenses. Except for a few armed policemen, nobody is on duty at night. The local Swedish Home Guard unit, the 32nd Gotland Battalion, consisting of about 300 volunteers, isn’t combat ready, as its members are in bed and its weapons stored at its base, which Russian Spetsnaz have already taken over.
Back in Sweden the air force finally realizes that the Russian air group is heading for Gotland, but it is weekend and on weekends the Swedish air force does not have fighters on Quick Reaction Alert and as the nearest air base is 250km away it is already too late. The Russians land. Paratroopers parachute over key locations, while heavy transport planes carrying S-300 and K-300P batteries land at Visby airport. Within minutes Gotland is in Russian hands. At a beach in Gotland’s North near Fårösund the Ropuchas unload main battle tanks and BTR-82AM wheeled infantry fighting vehicles of the 61st Marine Brigade. Civilian ferries enter Gotland’s harbor and bring further reinforcements.
As Russian troops begin to round up all people on Gotland, which are considered to be a risk to Russia’s occupation, the Swedish cabinet meets in Stockholm. Russia’s ambassador informs the Swedish government Russia has taken “temporarily” possession of Gotland to protect Russian speakers in the Baltic States from “fascist NATO aggression”. Sweden is told to acquiesce to the fait accompli.
Now the Swedish government finds out it has no possibility to resist, as 25 years of destroying its own armed forces have left Sweden defenseless: the Swedish Navy’s surface combatants all lack a close-in weapon systems to destroy incoming anti-ship missiles (and there are just nine of them anyway, which will all be sunk by either Russian anti-ship missiles fired from Gotland), or underwater mines dropped by Russian submarines outside Swedish naval bases, or by Russian submarines waiting outside the same bases. Having no anti-submarine helicopters the Swedish navy is stuck in their bases with no chance to take to the sea. Swedish air force fighter jets can’t take to the air, as both main bases in Southern Sweden lie within reach of the S-300 batteries on Gotland. And if Sweden would decide to mount a serious amphibious landing on Gotland by sending all its 100+ Stridsbåt90 fast assault boats, each carrying 18 troops, to Gotland, Sweden would need days to assemble this force, days during which Russian transport planes fly in a full division of Russian airborne troops with its complement of armored vehicles, tanks and artillery.
But events on Gotland are just a minor blimp on this day, as at sunbreak Russian troops cross the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to “free the people” of these three nations from their “fascist governments”. NATO’s Šiauliai air base is flattened within minutes by Russian OTR-21 Tochka missiles fired from Kaliningrad and the few NATO planes taking to the skies are quickly shot down by S-300 batteries in Kaliningrad, thus giving Russia air supremacy over the Baltic States and sea.
Russian armored columns cut through the three nations with ease, as their militaries are small and have neither tanks nor air-defense systems nor attack helicopters. By noon NATO ambassadors meet in Brussels. The ambassadors of the three Baltic States declare that their nations are under attack and request that article 5 is activated. Poland, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Canada, France, the US and a few others agree and want to give NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe free reign to beat back the Russians and liberate the Baltic States. But Turkey, Greece, Germany and a few others refuse. Especially Germany is most likely to be stalling, by talking about the “need to talk”, the necessity to “not provoke Russia”, the need to give Putin an “off ramp” and other bullcrap. Ultimately Germany might block a decision by stating it must first consult its parliament about invoking article 5.
If this happens then the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, France, Norway, Denmark and Norway will act on their own. Polish fighter jets take to the skies, Danish, British, French jets follow, but Germany could refuse NATO allies the use of its airspace and even block US jets from leaving American air bases in Germany. Thus Poland goes in first and goes in alone. But as the ordered American AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles have not yet been delivered, Polish fighters must enter the S-300 system’s range over Kaliningrad and attempt to take them out with shorter range AGM-154 JSOWs. A costly endeavor for Poland’s small air force, even though the Polish Army’s 11th Artillery Regiment continuously shells known Russian air-defense positions in Kaliningrad with its WR-40 Langusta multiple rocket launchers.
By evening Russian forces patrol the three Baltic nation’s capitals and begin rounding up everyone considered hostile to Russia. Communications with the rest of the world are cut and “popular committees” “suddenly” spring up to thank Russia “for its timely salvation from NATO fascism”. Russian TV shows “thankful Baltic citizens”, already known to all from their previous appearances as “thankful Donbas citizens”, who recount the “horrors they suffered from the fascist Baltic-NATO hordes”. Meanwhile, Baltic military and government officials, who had access to top secret NATO information, are flown to Moscow to be interrogated and tortured by the GRU.
All night long Allied air forces try to break through to the Baltic States, but even though S-300 and other air defense systems in Kaliningrad have been greatly reduced the ones on Gotland keep shooting down allied planes. The United States begins an air lift of combat forces to Poland and hundreds of fighter jets and transport planes cross the Atlantic. Dozens of heavy Bombers land on English bases and are being readied for strikes. The allies ask Sweden for permission to strike Russian position on Gotland. The US even offers to send the II Marine Expeditionary Force to retake Gotland for Sweden, but Russia’s ambassador to Sweden announces that if Sweden were to let allied forces cross its territory Sweden would become a target for nuclear strikes. The same warning is given by Russian ambassadors to other European nations, especially to Denmark and Poland: if Denmark allows a US maritime task force passage through the Danish straits, said task force would be hit by a nuclear strike just off the coast of Copenhagen, incinerating the city along with the US’s ships; and if Poland were to allow the US to assemble armored divisions on its territory Russia would strike these staging areas with nuclear armed Iskander missiles fired from Kaliningrad.
By the next morning Poland’s air force is badly decimated, while its 16th Mechanized Division is engaged in heavy combat with Russian forces along Kaliningrad’s border. The first reinforcement from Poland’s 11th Armored Cavalry Division and 12th Mechanized Division arrive, but Russian forces arrive at the front in even greater numbers, while Russian artillery shells Polish forces from Belarusian territory, which prevents Poland from returning fire. Likewise, Russian fighter planes use Belarusian air bases to refuel and rearm, but cross into Polish airspace via Lithuanian airspace thus preventing Poland from attacking the bases in “neutral” Belarus.
Meanwhile, in the forests of the Baltic States, Russian Special Forces are executing thousands of people to eliminate all possible Baltic resistance before it can sprout. High profile politicians are spared (for now) and parliamentarians threatened with execution if they do not assemble to vote for a new pro-Russian government. By noon all three Baltic nations have new pro-Russian governments made up of Quislings and other collaborationist scum, Russian intelligence agencies recruited well in advance.
The next day Germany’s press is full of Russia’s bought sellouts and useful idiots warning that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons if NATO intervenes. The same happens in Sweden, where hundreds of Russian spies and bought traitors demand that Sweden remain neutral and allow Russia “temporary” possession of Gotland; “Resistance is futile” they say. Meanwhile the three Baltic ambassadors to NATO call for an urgent meeting at which they announce that their nations withdraw the motion to invoke article 5. Even though all NATO ambassadors present know that the three Baltic ambassadors act under Russian threats to execute their captured families, Germany, besides Turkey and Greece the nation most like to go full treacherous, demands that all sides cease combat operations immediately. The US and its valiant allies refuse to abandon the Balts, thus NATO is destroyed.
By nightfall of the second day Russia has occupied and fortified Gotland, occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and destroyed, via its European proxies, NATO. Putin’s main war goal has thus been achieved: NATO is no more. Now Russia must secure its conquests: Sweden, emasculated by having no armed forces, having 57,000 citizens taken hostage on Gotland and undermined by a plethora of Russian spies, ultimately surrenders to Russian demands and allows Russia to occupy Gotland, while denying allied forces to strike Russian positions there, thus closing the Danish Straits for good.
With the allies unable to ship reinforcement to Poland and with Germany closing its territory for allied flights and transports, the only nation Russia must knock out to win this war is Poland. As Russia is hopelessly outgunned by the US military, even more so if NATO would have stuck together, and as Russia cannot hope to blackmail nuclear powers like France, the UK and the US, Russia’s military doctrine demands to threaten non-nuclear nations with nuclear strikes and thus prevent them from resisting Russian aggression. The word Russia uses for such strikes is “de-escalation”. That’s Russian thinking: we de-escalate by nuking a city and killing 100,000 people. I kid you not. Russia’s official policy is to nuke nations that resist, which in Russia’s insane, brutal view is a “de-escalation”.
Therefore, on the morning of the third day Russia issues a warning to Poland to cease fire, stating correctly that Russian forces have not entered Polish territory and therefore Poland should stand down and not risk having one or more of its city struck by a nuclear bomb for helping nations like Estonia, which have “greeted Russian forces as liberators”. But Poland, brave Poland, keeps fighting as more and more US troops arrive. And so on the afternoon of the third day Russia fires an Iskander missile at a Polish city. Łódź being the most likely target: far enough away from Russia and Germany to reduce the effects of nuclear fallout on these two indirectly allied nations and with enough population to kill 100,000 civilians with ease.
The world is in shock. Poland demands its allies retaliate by nuking a Russian city, but France, the UK and the US refuse. Nuking a Russian city would inevitably lead to a Russian counterstrike and thus nuclear Armageddon. Poland is abandoned. Poland thus must ceases fire and under tears subjugate to Russian demands of a demilitarized zone and elimination of its armored and air forces.
With NATO broken, the EU breaking apart, and nations bordering Russia cowing in fear, Putin will force Finland, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Poland and others to join his Eurasian Economic Union, which is nothing but an euphemism for becoming colonies of the Kremlin. Having been betrayed by its former allies and unable to stomach nuclear war, the US will retreat from Europe and fade. While fascist movements, looking to Russia as new leader of the continent, will rise in Europe and voluntarily join their nations to Putin’s Reich.
And exactly this last paragraph is what Putin dreams about. This is his deepest wish. So he will wage this war. He planned to wage it later, around 2020 when the decade long rearmament of Russia’s military will be complete, but events in Ukraine forced him to act earlier. Many people believe this to be fantasy… you wish! Russia ordered Mistral ships from France for the explicit purpose to attack Gotland and Crimea. Right now Russia is deploying the forces it needs for this war to Kaliningrad. Russia is doing dry runs for this war every week. Russia is getting ready.
But Europe isn’t. Sweden plans to send 150 troops to Gotland sometime in the future… 150 men- a company, unlike during the Cold War when an entire armored brigade of 5000 men was garrisoned on Gotland. NATO did not forward deploy ground forces to the Baltic Nations, as I demanded over a year ago (!). Germany keeps blocking all sensible NATO preparations and even cut its defense spending in 2014 and in 2015. Merkel and Steinmeier, not content with having actively helped Putin dismember Ukraine, now forcefully push for NATO to be unprepared, by vetoing even planning for key operations in case Russia gears up to attack; like planning for NATO to occupy Gotland at the first whiff of Russian stirred hybrid war in the Baltic States.
Instead of arming Ukraine and thus forcing Russia to deploy large amounts of its troops there, Germany and other EU nations even block attempts by Ukraine to buy weapons, thus allowing Putin to keep 90% of his army free for a strike against the Baltic States. And when that strike comes, Germany is the most likely candidate to balk and wiggle out of its NATO commitments, because for Germans Eastern Europeans are still Untermenschen, as was evidenced by Germany’s nasty, arrogant and disgusting scolding of Poland, when Poland warned that Russia only built the North Stream gas pipeline to bypass Eastern European nations and thus allow it to blackmail and threaten them with its gas-weapon.
No German politician has admitted that the Poles were right then and that they are right now Germans just don’t do excuses to Eastern Europeans, whose nations Germans devastated twice during the last century. Now Germans will devastate Eastern Europe a third time, by refusing to let NATO plan and prepare for the coming war. This war could still be prevented, but the costs have risen exponentially since last spring when much stronger sanctions and forceful military demonstration would have still gotten through to Putin before he completely went into his alternate universe, as even Merkel had to admit. But even now Merkel and Germany are completely obsessed with the Greek debt crisis, a minor trifle, which, to Putin’s endless joy, distracts the entire German elite from Russia’s war preparations.
War is coming. It has been clear to the few true Russia experts since February 19th 2014, when Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov arrived in Kyiv to coordinate the bloody attack on Euromaidan that left nearly 100 people dead the very next day. Nobody listened then, and now a further 6000 people are dead. Will somebody listen now? Certainly not in Germany, but here is what must be done, to make the above scenario unfeasible bloody for Putin’s generals:
Sweden must fortify Gotland, and if it can’t, then NATO must take it at the first whiff of Russian aggression. Better even if Sweden and Finland join NATO this minute, but Germany might block this idea, to “not provoke Putin”, just as it did block the deployment of strong deterrent forces to the Baltic States. Plans to ensure the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania can be evacuated in case of Russian attacks need to be set in motion. If you wonder why they have been stalled so far, ask Merkel. Plans to update NATO’s nuclear weapons doctrine to warn Russia a nuclear strike against a NATO city would be retaliated with a similar strike against a similar Russian city need to be unblocked. If you wonder who blocked them, ask Merkel. Plans to preposition material and war stocks in Poland and the Baltics… she can give you the answer too. Suggestions to exclude defense spending from the German imposed 3% budget deficit limit in the EU – blocked by, yes, you know already who.
Under Merkel, Germany has become the undisputed leader among European nations, but unlikely earlier German governments, who used their power to promote peace in Europe by literally buying it with German Marks, Merkel’s government abuses its leading position to block others from doing the right thing. While Helmut Kohl’s government armed Croatia under attack by Serbia, Merkel blocks others from delivering weapons to Ukraine. While Helmut Kohl’s government actively supported Poland’s bid to become a NATO and EU member, Merkel obstructs the same for Ukraine and other nations. While Helmut Kohl’s government generously provided money to poor European nations to reduce the risk of them becoming failed states, Merkel is actively turning Greece into a failed state. The list goes on, but the gist is clear: Merkel does nothing to unite Europe, nothing to prepare Europe, nothing to strengthen Europe.
With allies like this my suggestion is that Poland speedily develops its own nuclear weapons, because the only known unknowns now are, which NATO members, besides Germany, will wiggle out of their commitment to common defense, and what scenario Russia will use to stir up trouble in the Baltic nations, which will then “force Putin” to deploy the Russian Armed Forces “to restore peace and order” and to beat back the “fascist Nazi hordes oppressing Russian speakers in the Baltic nations”. You still don’t believe me? Major European armies, when not preparing for intervention in Libya, are war gaming the above scenario, and even bleaker scenarios. All three Baltic nations are adding military capabilities as fast as they can to avoid being overrun before American reinforcements can arrive; and if you think there are no plans on Putin’s and Breedlove’s desk about occupying Gotland, then you don’t know war. And if there are still doubts in your mind, watch Russian TV for a day, where Putin’s propaganda for this war is already in full swing.
Enjoy your life while you can, and curse the moral cowards, who brought us to this.