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German Fighters Patrolling Baltics Fully Armed

NATO continues escalation by sending fighter planes up to Russia's border ready for combat

This report originally appeared in German Economic News. Translated for Russia Insider by Susan Neumann.

For the first time NATO has sent Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to the Baltics with full ammunition loads. Inspector of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Karl Müllner says one doesn’t want to escalate the situation.

By sending the German fighter jets, NATO wants to prove that they occupy the same playing field as Russia. Aside from that, deployment should serve to motivate the German soldiers. 

For the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, the German “Eurofigher” war jets are policing Baltic airspace with full ammunition loads. “This is not a tool for escalation. This is only a tool with which we can meet each other on equal footing”, said Karl Müllner to the German Press Agency. “And it’s a tool to motivate the soldiers, who are the ones patrolling the skies.”

The Baltic States have felt massively threatened by their powerful neighbor ever since Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. NATO has therefore significantly increased their surveillance of the airspace over the past year, from 4 to 16 jets. Now the number of jets has been reduced to 8. Sahra Wagenknecht from Germany’s Left Party has described the campaign to police Baltic airspace as madness and has demanded that the Federal Government put a stop to it immediately. 

According to a NATO-statistic issued by the German Press Agency, the fighter jets have been engaged in the Baltics 365 times between January 2014 and June of this year for the purpose of identifying and escorting Russian planes. The press report fails to mention whether the planes were Russian fighter jets or simply planes flying through international airspace.   

From the beginning of the Ukraine-Crisis, the German Air Force was deployed from September to December 2014, and more recently it has been participating in a NATO-campaign since the end of August.  Since then the Eurofighters have been flying with full armament.

The Eurofighter did not have a full armament last year. “That was because of the political situation at the time, where one had said that the focus was more along the lines of de-escalation”, Müllner explained. “The so-called ‘full war time load’ could have been misinterpreted.”

Today the situation is considered to be “non-so-critical”. “That’s why we have our full war time load this time around. We’re showing it off, because the others are showing their’s off.”

As for the Eurofighter’s complete armament, it’s equipped with a cannon, infrared short-range missiles, radar-guided medium-range missiles and an electronic defense system with radar-guided or infrared decoys that are ejected at the first sign of a threat.  

According to Müllner, the medium-range missiles are not allowed for domestic operations in Germany – except in the event of war or tension. “But we can use them for the Baltics. And this provides the opportunity for the soldiers to work with precise weapons for the first time”, said the Air Force Inspector. “That naturally requires a strong sense of solidarity among the soldiers. And I think that’s good for us internally.”  

The Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces of Germany) has been developing a new military doctrine that classifies Russia as an enemy. The USA is beginning to station nuclear weapons in Germany. Activists see a new aggression in NATO’s development and want to protest against it in Ramstein this weekend.

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