Goransson accused Russian planes of breaking formation, flying too close to Swedish planes and firing decoy flares at Swedish aircraft. He believes that such actions are “sanctioned at the highest level. Otherwise they wouldn’t act this way.”
Russia – Militarization of Europe continues
NATO is increasingly worried by the aggressive behavior of Russian aircraft and naval vessels. The Navy is one area that Russia is upgrading, with two new warship designs revealed in May. The “Shtorm” multipurpose heavy aircraft carrier and the “Shval” destroyer are part of a modernization program which will also see Russia build its own amphibious assault ships after a deal with France fell through.
Vladimir Putin recently announced that Russia will spend $400 billion by 2020 in order to modernize its armed forces. As well as the new ships, Moscow has developed a state of the art tank known as the Armata, and plans to upgrade missile and other heavy weapons technology.
Tensions between NATO and Russia have reached lows not seen since the end of the Cold War, and both sides are to blame. Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior does nothing to discourage NATO from enlisting new members in Eastern Europe, eroding the buffer zone which Moscow claims was part of an initial agreement.
As NATO forces encroach on areas close to Russia, Moscow is becoming increasingly aggressive in both its rhetoric and its military activity. NATO has responded by carrying out large military drills close to Russian borders, a move which has done nothing to calm the situation.
Western politicians have attempted to isolate Russia on the international stage through a series of economic sanctions, but the accession of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, led by Russia and China, provides evidence that Russia does not stand alone. Russia’s membership of the SCO and the BRICS grouping goes to show that Moscow still has some influence internationally.
Putin’s wish to drive greater cooperation with China should also be a worry for the West, and there is a distinct possibility that the two nations pursue strategic alliances which could constitute a new threat to U.S. global hegemony. Western sanctions may only succeed in pushing Russia away from Europe and into the arms of China and other Asian partners.