By J.E. Dyer
In a big twofer this week, Russia is simultaneously hosting the first Chinese naval task group ever to conduct exercises in the Baltic Sea, and bringing the last surviving Typhoon ballistic missile submarine into the Baltic for an unprecedented visit by an SSBN.
The Baltic got so lucky because it’s ground zero for the Russia-NATO theater-level confrontation right now, and has been for the last two-to-three years. The timing is due to the celebration of Russia’s Navy Day — on 30 July — and the association of Russian naval tradition with the bases in the Baltic Sea (Kronshtadt, St. Petersburg).
Most of the tactical Russia-NATO confrontations have been in the form of unsafe maneuvers by Russian warplanes around NATO planes and ships. Russia has also made a show of operationalizing her Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave in the Baltic, and conducting an increasing number of military exercises on the borders of