The tension between Russia and the Western countries increases as Moscow grows its military potential – the fastest since the Cold War, writes the New York Times. The outlet notes that Russia increases defense expenditures, conducts large-scale military drills and upgrades weapons – everything to return its supremacy on the globe. The article by Catrin Einhorn, Hannah Fairfield and Tim Wallace has been published at the NY Times website.
In particular, the NY Times mentioned Russia’s military budget, which in 2015 grew by USD 11 billion. However, the analysts quoted by the outlet maintain that Russia will have to slow down further growth of expenditure costs due to the tough economic situation in the country.
Besides, the NY Times emphasized on restoration of Russian military bases in the Arctic Region. “Russia is reinvesting in its bases in the Arctic: building new ones, expanding old ones and deploying personnel to operate them. Analysts say Russia’s efforts in the Arctic are driven in part by climate change, as the country seeks to exploit and defend maritime trade routes and oil and natural gas resources in areas made more accessible by melting ice”.
Reporters of the NY Times mentioned large-scale military drills held in Russia where more than 100 thousand servicemen took part in 2015. Participation of Russia’s strategic missile troops in the drills turned the attention of the international community to the country’s nuclear potential. NATO reacted by increasing the area of their military drills in Europe, the reporters wrote.
“The image that Russian official sources convey is that they’re preparing for large-scale interstate war,” Johan Norberg of the Swedish Defense Research Agency told the NY Times. “This is not about peacekeeping or counterinsurgency.”
Einhorn, Fairfield and Wallace reiterate that Russia has repeatedly entered or skirted the airspace of other countries, including the United States. The reporters note that since Crimea’s annexation in spring 2014, “the incidents have grown in number and seriousness”. The article refers to Turkey shooting down Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber, which illegally entered the Turkish airspace in November.
“Putin is trying to provoke the United States and NATO into military action and create the appearance that they are posing a threat to Russia, in order to bolster his own popularity,” Kimberly Marten, a professor at Barnard College and director of the United States-Russia Relations program at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, told the NY Times.