Unfortunately, some of the plots tend to repeat lately.
A joint US – UK special service report released on 1 July stated that hackers from Russian GRU military unit No 26165 from the middle of 2019 to the beginning of this year have attacked hundreds of private and public organizations around the world.
The report does not mention specific victims of cyber attacks or stolen information, but simply states that many accounts, including e-mails, have been successfully hacked, targeting military organizations (including the Pentagon), political parties, political consultants, energy, logistics, legal service companies, high schools, media, centres of expertise. According to the authors of the report, there is no doubt that GRU continues its cyber attacks now.
Military unit No 26165 has been repeatedly accused of plotted attacks in Europe and the United States, such as hacking an e-mail of the candidate to the US president in 2016 Hillary Clinton election headquarters, attacks on the German Bundestag in 2015, the Swedish Sports Confederation. And so on and so forth. Charges have been brought against a group of military unit officers by the US and Germany.
On 14 June, a group of researchers informed about the 18th Guards Rifle Division, which is planned to be completed by autumn in Kaliningrad region that borders with Lithuania, and which Moscow plans to complete until autumn. The division will consist of three rifle regiments, a tank regiment and four battalions (intelligence, automotive, engineering-demining and communications).
The researchers mentioned the cities of Sovetsk (on the border with Lithuania) and Gusev (36 kilometres from Lithuania and 26 kilometres from Poland) as possible locations for the division. According to , the Russians in the districts of these towns are engaged in active area intelligence, exercises to capture the enemy’s fire points, and landing of unmanned aerial vehicles in unprepared sites.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse, and the Associated Press, President Volodymyr Zelensky told on 14 June that even after the international community’s targeted consolidated effort, Russia is delaying withdrawal of its forces from the border with Ukraine.
It should be recalled that the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak spoke at the Ukrainian Supreme Council on 30 March about accumulation of the army by Moscow on the border with his country (deployed 110,000 troops). Ukrainian intelligence then warned that the Russian army might try to push their way to the depths of Ukraine.
In middle of April, militant propaganda against Ukrainians got more intense in Russia, seemingly without even thinking about moving a group of 110,000 from the Ukrainian border that was supported not only by open pro-Kremlin media, but also by independent publications. One such publication in the Novaya Gazeta on 12 April explained how the Russian army would organize the siege and destruction of the Ukrainian armed forces in Donbas, occupy major Russian-speaking cities in eastern and southern Ukraine and cut off “Kiev Ukraine” access to the Black Sea thanks to glorious victory.
Statements of the same mental origin include a public statement by Deputy Director of the President Administration of Russia Dmitry Kozak, that intervention of Russia will take place after the Ukrainian army enters the territories of eastern Ukraine occupied by Russia, marking the beginning of the end of Ukraine.
The statement of the management of the Ukrainian joint forces operation on 14 June that Russian mercenaries in the temporarily occupied eastern territories twice fired on Ukrainian positions from anti-tank cannons, grenade launchers, machine guns and other firearms should also be considered a routine. Ukrainians responded with fire, this time there were no victims, but this is not always the case when the Russians practically violate the ceasefire regime on a daily basis. The Ukrainian side informed the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe about the actions of the Russian military officers.
At the end of June, President Vladimir Putin met the graduates of Russian military higher education institutions that count 18 in the country – each power structure (Ministry of Defence, , Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, Federal Defence Service of the Russian Federation, GRU, etc.) has its own. Vladimir Putin urged the best 400 graduates who came to the meeting, to follow the example of the elders and fight not only against external but also internal threats.
On 31 May the Minister of Defence of Russia Sergey Shoygu presented the strategic plans of the Russian military forces, according to which 20 new military units will be formed in the western military district of Russia by the end of the year. This will be a response to hostile actions of the NATO.
It is interesting that the statement was issued on the eve of a meeting of Presidents of Russia and the US in Geneva and immediately after the launch of three Tu-22М3 bombers into Syria, who are called by the Russian media as “aircraft carrier killers”. Definitely, the American ones. It turns out that on the eve of a conversation that seemed to be important to the whole planet, perhaps even a fateful one, the Russian generals decided to demonstratively “wave their rods”.
According to the Russian military expert Yuri Fedorov, residing in Prague, Sergey Shoygu probably announced the formation of at least two divisions, each with 15 to 20 thousand soldiers and 400 to 500 tanks and a corresponding amount of other heavy military equipment. Such regionally powerful military group is perfect for sudden offensive military operations.
Yuri Fedorov proposes to consider three possible locations of the group – at the border with Latvia and Estonia, at the northern border of Ukraine in the Smolensk and Kursk regions of Russia and in Belarus.
The first option is probable, but is not very likely, because on the border with Estonia and Latvia, the Russians are already holding large military contingents, which would be enough to occupy these Baltic States and invade Lithuania.
Another group close to Ukraine would undoubtedly increase military pressure on the country, but The Minister of Defence of Russia argues its creation as a result of a threat from NATO. Therefore, the most logical place for its potential deployment (because it is closest to the Alliance) is Belarus, and it is not for nothing that the republic is called a “dagger (kinship) aimed at the heart of NATO” or a “knife around the Alliance’s neck”.
Belarus can become a bridgehead, from which divisions with hundreds of tanks can have a significant impact on the military-political situation in the region, which includes the Baltic States, Poland, Volyn, Podolsk and Transnistria. There would be a military threat to Lithuania from the south, and the Russian army would have the opportunity to strike Poland on the Bialystok -Warsaw line. After all, Ukraine would be forced to keep significant forces at the border with Belarus.
The strategic importance of Belarus, and therefore the attention of Moscow to it, is also indicated by the scenarios of a probable military conflict between Russia and NATO. According to most military experts, it would start with the Russian attempt to occupy the capitals of the Baltic States, political military command centres, airports, etc. by airborne forces, thus paralyzing the command of local military forces and facilitating the complete capture of Latvia and Estonia, then Lithuania.
After this first stage, the Russian army should leave the Lithuanian-Polish border in the area of Suwalki corridor, which connects Belarus and the Russian exclave in the Kaliningrad region, and try to occupy as much of Poland as possible before the Alliance takes over the main forces from Germany.
Moscow could then issue an ultimatum: Russia uses a nuclear weapon and turns Eastern and Central Europe into a radioactive desert, or military action is halted, but the Baltic States remain in sphere of influence of Russia.
Of course, this is not the only scenario of war in the Baltic region, but in all of them the time factor is especially important – as soon as the Russians break opposition of the NATO in the Baltic States and Poland, Moscow would gain a stronger position in what can be called “post-war regulation”.
Therefore, the emergence of a military group announced by the Minister of Defence of Russia in Belarus is very likely. By the way, the statements of the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who have been particularly diseased recently, point to this (we will have a special text to this topic).
Analysts of Western expert communities and academic centres who warned neighbours (and beyond) about the military threat posed by Vladimir Putin regime were seen as a kind of urban madness until Russian attacks on Ukraine in 2014. Today, headquarters of member-states of NATO, as well as the Alliances own structures, are feverishly planning and consolidating forces capable of stopping probable military aggression of Russia. NATO Defender Europe 21 training in early June was the largest in 30 years time not for no reason.
Russian political commentator Gleb Pavlovsky asked by Radio Svoboda how to evaluate/ understand the allusion of the President of Russia to World War III through this regular “direct line” with the Russian people on 30 June told that he did not understand the motives. Even at the height of prosperity (and geopolitical), the General Secretary of the former Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev tried not to raise the issue. The reviewer summed up the fragment with the phrase “there is no much joy.”
But maybe there’s just nothing to understand here. Only by remembering the quantity (the facts listed here are only a part of the whole) a comforting suspicion arises that not only the repetitive but also tending to multiply quite rapidly the quantity of the same content can turn into quality in obedience to the dialectic. Then actually there is not much joy.