The appearance of NATO aircraft on the Russian border indicates that NATO has begun assimilating a new theater of military operations, according to Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, vice-president of the State Academy for Geopolitical Research.
As reported by a Rosbalt correspondent, the general made the remarks at a press conference Wednesday, saying that while the appearance of NATO aircraft on Russia's border means little at first glance, if one takes into account the installation of radar sites in the Baltic countries, the modernization of six airfields, the increasing of their operational capacity and the organization of methods for the overflight of the Russian frontier, then it becomes clear that the alliance is assimilating a new theater of operations.
Ivashov said that the modernization of airfields in the Baltic countries and the increase in their operational capacity is intended to accommodate 200 to 300 military aircraft. He said that NATO could potentially use those aircraft against Russia in the event of political or economic changes. He said that such economic changes might involve the possible redirection of gas deliveries from the west to the east. 'That would not necessarily lead to a military confrontation,' he said, 'but the military factor will weigh on Russia whenever it takes any political or economic decisions which affect NATO's interests.'