Besides of the Balkans (Russians also spying on Albanian military facilities as it has been communicated; see also the post underneath) – former parts of the Soviet Union remain a focus of Russian expansionist policy.
With the election of a “Russian” president in Moldova and according consultations in Moscow the question now is mainly when he will “invite” Russian troops to his country.
This makes sense, as the picture is increasingly such that Russia will try to “encircle” Ukraine due to the strategic depth of Ukraine and the realities on the ground. Russia has missed several windows of opportunities, and now does not have the strength to just “overrun” Ukraine, and therefore is building up forces in certain areas from which it later could strike in a coordinated move.
– faster than any western media or mainstream politican is able to react.
Just take the first two weeks of 2017:
Together with President-elect Trump there has been a serious move against Chinese expansionist politics and implicit global aspirations of China
Russia has moved against the democratic government in Libya (Tripolis), sending a message it will support its enemies
Russia, together with Serbia, have moved against the whole Albanian world in staging a provocation against northern Kosova (in sending a propaganda train which was stopped at the border) – prompting President Thaci to warn of a Crimea-style occupation of the Serbian-populated part of northern Kosova.
Those are all regions, Russia claims to have “interests”.
Four days before the inauguration of Trump, provocations in two very important regions of “Russian interest” are lacking:
a serious provocation against Ukraine (even if the use of heavy artillery and attacks on Ukrainian positions have increased lately).
a bigger provocation in the Baltic region.
“State-supported Russian hacker groups are ready to attack hospitals, infrastructure and the electrical supply by breaking into computer systems and creating a mess of notices and treatments within the health system” – so the Danish Defense Minister Frederiksen.
Just after another demonstrative Russian paratrooper exercise near the North Pole, Canadian media discuss the weak response of their government (and NATO) towards the Russian military build-up in the Artic region (see blow for operationable Russian military bases and a map).
Rostislav Ishchenko – who also has pushed the idea that Russia should occupy the Baltic states – this week had a chance to present his current views on Ukraine on Russian TV, finding Russian ground forces would suffer significantly if they decided to go for Ukrainian cities. Other participants of the “Evening with (propagandist) Vladimir Solovyev” proposed to take Aleppo as an example (see here, or here in English).
There are a few points such “discussions” do not consider (and suggest the public might be lured into an adventure against Ukraine). Those points are for example that Russia will not fight “terrorists”, but a regular army and possible effective weapons against Russian aircraft – such as the infamous Buk-missiles – or the fact that Ukrainians have defended attacked targets stubbornly (e.g. the Donetsk airport).
A professor of the international relations department of the University of St. Petersburg has told the world how Estonia is a military threat to Russia – and how to evade (or provoke) war with Estonia and NATO.
To test more reactions, a few days ago “representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia and the Donbass, together with USSR peoples deputies led by Sasha Umalatova and Russian Duma deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov, met in the framework of the National Liberation Movement of the USSR” and signed a document demanding among others “the start of negotiations with political representatives, public organizations and citizens of the USSR republics concerning the restoration of the internationally-recognized borders of the USSR which were confirmed by the UN on the basis of the result of World War II.”
Just a few hours after a Russian pundit stepped out with demands to use the Russian aviation and cruise missiles against Ukraine, Leonid Reshetnikov (director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies RISS) found that Belarus is not really an own country, and in fact a part of Russia.