Russia still has significant maritime capabilities – BALTOPS commander

  • 2024-06-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

KLAIPEDA - Russia has significant maritime capabilitie, Thomas Edwards Ishee, commander of Exercise BALTOPS 24, says, adding that the lessons learned from the Russia-Ukraine war are important for deterrence in the Baltic Sea.

"My assessment is that Russia still does have some significant capability in the maritime. And certainly in anti-access and area denial they are a capable nation that has these capabilities," the United States Navy vice admiral told a press conference in Klaipeda on Wednesday.

This, he said, is something that NATO allies need to be concerned about as they work to defend the Alliance as a whole, including the recently acceded Finland and Sweden that share much of the Baltic Sea coast.

"It plays in to how we would defend all of the Baltic nations that are NATO nations in the region.

The specific capabilities I won't get into but we're very much aware of what is going on in the Black Sea, in the war between Russia and Ukraine," he said.

"Seeing some of the developments that had happened in the Black Sea both on the Russian side and the Ukrainian side, and making sure that we understand those lessons, we're prepared to defend those threats, should they be used in the Baltic Sea," the BALTOPS 24 commander said.

BALTOPS 24, the largest military exercise ever held in the Baltic Sea, starts with a pre-sail conference taking place on Wednesday and Thursday at the Svyturys Arena. This is the second time the event has been organized in Lithuania.

According to the military, 30 allied ships are currently moored in Klaipeda, and their number may change before the exercise starts. They are manned by over 4,000 sailors, marines, naval aviators and other naval specialists.

The active phase at sea will take place on June 7-20.

BALTOPS is organized by the US Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and the US Sixth Fleet, with command and control provided by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO).