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The manoeuvres, which took place in March, assumed that a Western-backed uprising against President Vladimir Putin was taking place in Moscow.Under the scenario posited by the exercise, Russia responded by launching a simulated assault on four regional neighbours.Some troops practised attacking Norway with the aim of seizing an area in the north of the country.
The capture of these islands would allow Russia to seal off the Baltic and isolate Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
“If carried out successfully, control of those territories would make it all but impossible for Nato allies to reinforce the Baltic states,” wrote Edward Lucas, the senior vice-president of the Centre for European Policy Analysis and the author of the report.
Significantly, Finland and Sweden chose to join these manoeuvres as Nato “partner” countries.
The Kremlin’s military manoeuvres betray a preoccupation with achieving dominance of the Baltic – and a willingness to use nuclear weapons.
Of the countries targeted by this Russian exercise, Denmark and Norway are members of Nato, while Finland and Sweden are officially neutral.