|Volume 50 Number 23, June 20, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
From June 7 to 16, Britain alongside the US and other NATO countries took part in the annual Baltic Operations manoeuvres (BALTOPS), with around 3,000 participating troops from NATO countries. This year BALTOPS took place according to the claim that it was "exclusively at sea" with a naval exercise that started in the Baltic Sea which borders Russia. According to reports in this exercise, NATO deployed 29 warships and 29 strike support and electronic warfare aircraft. When no threat exists, the reports also made the fraudulent claim that these exercises were to "demonstrate international resolve to ensure stability in, and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region".
Whilst the world pandemic crisis continues, Britain alongside other NATO powers has continued these spring and summer military air and sea exercises, which started with US Defender Europe 2020 . Also in May, in a significantly hostile and provocative move against Russia, for the first time since the end of the Cold War a US-British naval task force conducted "maritime security operations" for five days in the Barents Sea on the border of Russia. The force consisted of the British frigate HMS Kent, and four other US warships. They were supported by two electronic warfare aircraft, a Navy P-8A Poseidon and an Air Force RC-135. US Naval Forces Europe announced that these warships held the manoeuvres with the fraudulent claim "to assert freedom of navigation". On June 3, four US Air Force B-52 nuclear bombers conducted a mission in which they "flew over the Arctic Ocean and the Laptev Sea, off the northern coast of Siberia". US 6th Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Lisa Franchetti confirmed that these were not peacetime friendly exercises but spoke using wartime references claiming that they were countering "Russian claims" and that "it is more important than ever that we maintain our steady drumbeat of operations across the European theatre" . All the NATO military reports on this repeat that "Russia has the world's longest Arctic coastline (7,000 miles) and gets roughly one-quarter of its GDP from activity in the region". This emphasises why the the US, Britain and other NATO powers are menacing Russian territorial waters, not happy that peaceful trade should continue in this region, and confronting the Russian Northern fleet outside in own base in northern Russia at Murmansk on the Barents Sea.
On June 1, the US Air Force Times reported that two B-1B Lancer nuclear bombers based in South Dakota had just completed a "long-range training flight" to the Black Sea during which they carried out manoeuvres to practise using "a long-range missile designed to target and destroy enemy ships". This deployment was described as "especially important to prepare B-1 crews to counter new and emerging threats and to be ready for a conflict against a major power, as outlined in the Pentagon's National Defence Strategy".
At the same time, as the US and its allies continue their menacing deployment around Russia, the US, with Britain's support is also confronting China with the US deploying warships and combat aircraft in the South China sea. According to reports, on May 28 the guided missile destroyer USS Mustin was sent to the South China Sea, following an overflight of the area two days previously by another two B-1B Lancer bombers in a mission that Pacific Air Forces Command arrogantly announced was intended "to demonstrate the Air Force's ability to operate anywhere international law allows, at the time and tempo of our choosing". The US reference to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)  is a fraud and absurd. The United States refuses to ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea, yet uses it to attempt to justify the extension of its interference in the South China Sea carrying out provocative overflights and naval confrontations. There is not the slightest justification, as there is no interference by China in the passage of any foreign merchant vessel through the South China Sea. On the contrary, the US and its allies are interfering, and not just in the South China Sea. The US imperialists in April sent their warships to try and stop Iranian tankers from entering ports in Venezuela, further showing its own criminal disregard for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
What is alarming is indeed the warmongering "drumbeat" and pace and scale of these deployments around Russia's borders north, south, west and east, as well as confronting China on its borders in the South China Sea when equally no threat exists. Whilst humanity faces the threat to their lives from the coronavirus and are trying to keep people safe and produce for their needs, such exercises are not only provocations against the people of Russia and China, but provocations against the peace of all countries and peoples of the world.
People all over the world demand an end to this participation in global warmongering. In Britain, the necessity is to end Britain's participation in NATO and bring about an anti-war government that develops friendly and peaceful relations with all the countries and peoples of the world.
 No Let Up in Exercises and Operations in Europe and the World During Coronavirus Pandemic
 Provocative Ongoing NATO Military Exercises in Europe
 Lloyds List - Barents Sea naval drill designed to counter Russian claims
 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
A Case for the United States' Ratification of UNCLOS