Baltic Uncertainties: Lithuanian Concern About Russian Naval Operations in the Baltic


2014-05-30  Clearly, Russian actions in the Ukraine have focused the attention of the Baltic states as well as of the Nordics who are intimately involved in the Baltic region as well.

The recent piece by a Latvian researcher suggesting that the Russians are evolving their techniques and approaches to pressuring states via leveraging military power while avoiding direct military combat reflects concerns of states who see their national survival at stake.

The Russians are inventing a 21 Century approach to military power. It is neither hard nor soft power, but the use of hard power as the underwriter of a strategic communication strategy to achieve objectives short of an all out war.

Neither asymmetric nor convention, the Russians are shaping what this researcher calls a strategic communications policy to support strategic objectives and to do so with a tool set of various means, including skill useful of military power as the underwriter of the entire effort.

Now the Lithuanians are raising concerns about a particular form of Russian military harassment.

According to a Reuters story published today, Lithuania accuses Russia of harassing ships in the Baltic Sea.

“The Ministry of Foreign affairs expressed concern due to recurring Russian military fleet actions in the Lithuanian exclusive economic zone, which violate the sovereign rights and freedoms of Lithuania and other countries,” the ministry said after the acting head of the Russian embassy was summoned to the ministry on Friday.

“We encourage Russia to keep to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international law consistently and ensure that such incidents would no longer occur,” the ministry said.

Lithuania’s defense ministry said Russian warships were found ordering civilian vessels off Lithuania to change course twice this week and once in April, referring to safety concerns due to military exercises in nearby Russian waters.

Modern Russian warships, capable of hitting targets 150 kilometers (95 miles) away, were involved in policing this week. The ships left immediately after a Lithuanian warship arrived on the scene, the ministry said.

A vessel involved in laying an electric cable on the floor of the Baltic sea between Lithuania and Sweden was ordered to move in one of incidents, the ministry said.