Putin Flexes Muscles, Paints NATO as Aggressor

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Russian President Vladimir Putin goes machismo.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is bragging that no other nations can gain military superiority over Russia as he begins a military build-up to counter NATO and inches into the Ukraine.

Is this reality, or bluster and bravado? So many would-be, self-deceived conquerors have ridden the bear to disaster. How President Barack Obama and NATO respond may decide.

“No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it. We will always have an adequate answer for any such adventures,” Putin was quoted in an address dedicated to the Defenders’ of the Fatherland Day holiday next week.

“Our soldiers and officers have proven that they are ready to act decisively smoothly, professionally and courageously, to perform the most difficult non-standard tasks, as befits a modern hardened combat-ready army that protects their traditions and military duty,” according to a Business Insider translation of BBC report.

The bellicose statement comes as Russian-backed rebels gain territory in eastern Ukraine, the Business Insider and Reuters report.

Oddly, Putin’s new military doctrine depicts NATO as a potential aggressor and therefore Russia has to build up it’s defenses. But when was the last time NATO waged a war of aggression against any nation?

The new Russian military defense document, translated by Defense News states there are “many regional conflicts which remain unresolved. There is a tendency to force their resolution, including those which are in the regions bordering the Russian Federation. The existing architecture of the international security system does not provide an equal level of security to all states.”

To counter this, Russia’s doctrine permits Moscow and allied nations to set up jointly missile defense systems—likely reacting to the U.S.’s past plans for a missile shield based in Poland.

In probable reference to the missile shield, Defense News translated a part of the doctrines that says NATO is “undermining global stability and violating the balance of power in the nuclear-missile sphere.”

Aside from countering NATO, Russia’s doctrine includes expanding a military presence in the Arctic. Moscow has begun a construction blitz along the Arctic Ocean that includes 10 search-and-rescue stations and 16 deep-water ports.

Also, Moscow is training a commando unit for Arctic warfare with a second Arctic-warfare brigade scheduled for 2017. Russia also is building 13 airfields and 10 air-defense radar stations.

The construction boom will “permit the use of larger and more modern bombers,” Mark Galeotti, an NYU professor specializing in global affairs and Russian and Slavic studies, writes in the Moscow Times. “By 2025, the Arctic waters are to be patrolled by a squadron of next-generation stealthy PAK DA bombers.”

The third part of Russia’s new doctrine is closer ties with the BRICS nations—Brazil, India, China, and South Africa.

Western nations have clung to the hope of reviving the peace deal brokered by France and Germany in Minsk on Feb. 12 even though the Russian rebels ignored it to seize Ukraine’s Debaltseve railway hub.

Kiev has accused Russia of sending more tanks and troops into eastern Ukraine and said they were moving toward the rebel-held town of Novoazovsk on the southern coast, a potential battlefront.

“In recent days, despite the Minsk [ceasefire] agreement, military equipment and ammunition have been sighted crossing from Russia into Ukraine,” military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

He said more than 20 Russian tanks, 10 missile systems and busloads of troops had crossed the border into Ukraine.

Western nations have clung to the hope of reviving the peace deal brokered by France and Germany in Minsk on Feb. 12 even though the rebels ignored it to seize Debaltseve railway hub.

Russian actions and Putin’s words don’t bode well.