During the past few days there has been a sharp escalation in the relations between the West and Russia. The focus is currently on the poison gas incident in England where Theresa May is blaming Russia of organizing the attack. And as the first measure, 23 Russian diplomats have already been expelled after an ultimatum expired on Russia.
Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom have reached a new bottom because of these developments. The UK wants an emergency session of the UN Security Council and is backed by the US and therefore the entire NATO.
Escalation in Syria
The Russian Chief of Staff Gerasimov has issued a strong military warning this week directly to the United States. If the US opens an attack in Syria after a new poison gas incident and Russian military personnel gets killed, Russia will carry out retaliation against US ships and aircraft.
This is clear language and in the most extreme case it could lead to a war between Russia and the US and therefore a war between NATO and Russia. Now it is not certain that will happen, but seen against the background of Putin’s recent warning to NATO, it is clear that we are going to get a hot spring from a geopolitical point of view.
In addition to the sharp rhetoric of both parties, there are also military movements that give the rhetoric an ominous background. NATO drastically increased its reconnaissance flights with drones and espionage planes along the western and eastern borders of Russia.
Along the northern border of Norway, at least three US nuclear submarines carry out the ICEX exercise for five weeks while in Alaska the exercise ‘Arctic Edge 2018’ has started. This exercise is led by NORAD and US Northern Command.
Belarus has, since last Monday, brought its entire force into a state of alarm to carry out an unexpected inspection. Russia has meanwhile moved rocket ships to the south of the Caspian Sea and strengthened its fleet in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. And this is only a small sample of the measures from both sides that are expected to increase in frequency in the coming weeks.