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CBC IN LATVIA – Propaganda and provocation: Russia scoffs at Canada’s Baltic war games


Maj. Chelsea Braywood leads Bravo Company in the first major exercise for the Canadian-led NATO battle group in Latvia. (Pascal Dumont/CBC)

I understand that bluster and bravado in Russian propaganda, but how can they say this and keep a straight face?

In the case of “nobody in Russia can understand” indicates the entire country cannot see reality that the whole world sees: Russian aggression is everywhere. Why does the world consider Russia an aggressor?  Let’s see: Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Ukraine – Crimea and Donbas. Transnistria in Moldova.  100,000 Russians in Georgia and a few in the Baltics and Russia is shivering in fear?

“nobody in Russia can understand” how bolstering NATO’s presence in the Baltic border region will make Europe more secure.”

“We are not spreading all over the world. Why do you regard us as aggressors?” she said.

Some security analysts have raised red flags that Russia may use the Zapad exercise as a cover to make more territorial gains.

Zakharova calls that more fearmongering. It’s just part of the “western propaganda” machine aimed against Russia, she said.

Somebody get Ms. Zakharova some toothpicks, we need to open her eyes to see reality.

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Canada-led NATO battle group goes through first major exercise to test battle-readiness

By Chris Brown, CBC News Posted: Aug 26, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 26, 2017 5:00 AM ET

A high-level Russian official is unimpressed with Canada’s war games in the Baltics.

“There is no other way to interpret what’s going on in the Baltic republics [than] as a very provocative action,” Maria Zakharova, chief spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview with CBC News.

“How can that bring more stability to European security?” said Zakharova. “I cannot understand that. Nobody in Russia can understand that.”

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Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says “nobody in Russia can understand” how bolstering NATO’s presence in the Baltic border region will make Europe more secure. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military support to separatists in eastern Ukraine spooked some Baltic republics and prompted the request for NATO to bolster its presence in the border region.

That led the Trudeau government to commit more than $350 million dollars to send Canadian troops to lead the NATO force in Latvia for three years.

Five other countries — Italy, Spain, Poland, Slovenia and Albania — are also part of Operation Reassurance.

The exercise they’ve been engaged in this past week — their first major one — is essential for testing their battle-readiness.

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Canadian Forces take part in their first major exercise, aimed at testing their combat-readiness. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC )

After five days and nights living out of a mud trench, the end is finally in sight for Maj. Chelsea Braybrook and the rest of Bravo Company.

“We’re in the last phase now,” said Braybrook, a member of the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and one of 450 Canadian soldiers stationed here as part of the Canadian-led NATO battle group.

“I’d say we have at most another 48 hours of defensive operations,” said Braybrook.

Repel attack

The aim of the exercise was to repel a conventional enemy attack with armour and infantry units and to hold a forested area about an hour’s drive north of Latvia’s capital.

Every member of Canada’s battle group wears thick camouflage makeup on their faces.

Some hunker down in foxholes, listening to orders come in over the radio in the make-believe battle.

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The command centre set up by Canadian troops is protected by armoured vehicles and infantry. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

Others are perched nearby inside LAVs — light armoured vehicles — scanning the horizon for movement.

Cpl. James Thoman says the simulation has been intense even though it hasn’t involved using live ammunition.

“It’s real as it can be without rounds flying both ways,” he said.

The enemy in this case is being role-played by their hosts — the Latvian military — and Canadian commanders say the exercise has fine-tuned communications and helped the multinational force work together.

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Brig.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu is overseeing the certification exercise for Canadian troops. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

“Although this team has been together for a very short period of time, what they have achieved so far is very impressive,” said Brig.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu. As the senior Canadian officer at the certification exercise, it’s his job to confirm to NATO command that the Canadian-led task force is battle-ready.

Not ‘aggressors’

In the past, Russian officials have denied any ambitions to move into the Baltic states and said the expanded NATO presence along their eastern borders has only added to tension in the region.

Zakharova, known for her robust defense of Russian foreign policy, offered CBC News a more extensive explanation of Russia’s opposition.

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Canadian soldiers have been living in the field, camouflaged and sleeping rough for nearly a week. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

“We are not spreading all over the world. Why do you regard us as aggressors?” she said.

Russia’s position, she said, is that NATO is wasting money putting troops in the border region when there are more serious common threats at hand.

“We’re watching more and more terrorist attacks take place all over Europe,” said Zakharova.

Western ‘propaganda’

The NATO exercises, though, may pale in comparison to manoeuvres Russia has planned in its eastern region in mid-September.

Whereas NATO’s exercises in three Baltic countries over the past month have featured roughly 5,000 troops, Zapad 2017 — Russia’s war game — is expected to be an order of magnitude larger. There are estimates suggesting as many as 100,000 Russian troops will take part.

Some security analysts have raised red flags that Russia may use the Zapad exercise as a cover to make more territorial gains.

Zakharova calls that more fearmongering. It’s just part of the “western propaganda” machine aimed against Russia, she said.

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4 thoughts on “CBC IN LATVIA – Propaganda and provocation: Russia scoffs at Canada’s Baltic war games

  1. Why does the world consider Russia an aggressor?  Let’s see: Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Ukraine – Crimea and Donbas. Transnistria in Moldova. All lies. most are a counter to US aggression. USA overthrew a democratically elected pro-Moscow Ukrainian government. Crimea and Donbas are Russian counters. USA was trying to get Georgia to become a NATO member. Abkhazia and South Ossetia was another counter to US aggression. Transnistria has always wanted to be part of Russia since the end of the Soviet Union. The problem is USA Imperialism not Russia.

    1. “Why does the world consider Russia an aggressor?

      – Russia claims victimhood, but, as you cite, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, and Donbas were all actions initiated by Russia. Crimea, for instance: “NATO is about to seize Sevastopol”, “We must protect the Russian language”, “Russian heritage”, whereas there were no plans. Donbas, “Russian peoples, Russian language”, and there were absolutely no actions by Ukraine or the US or any other Western countries. Russia is the aggressor.

      Transnistria in Moldova…

      – I’ll give you this, but still, that was a part of another sovereign nation, Moldova. Now Russian troops are there and Moldova wants its land back. Again, Russia is the aggressor.

      Continuing that for just a second – ONLY Russia seizes parts of other countries, declares a referendum, and then holds an “election” and then merges that with Russia. Only Russia is the aggressor.

      All lies. most are a counter to US aggression.

      – Sorry, “all lies” isn’t an argument, that is a declaration with proof, without citation, and without merit.

      – “Counter to US aggression”? You might declare it so, but Maidan was a popular uprising. Yanukovych was a very unpopular leader, highly corrupt, and then where did he flee? That’s right, Russia. Russia is babysitting his royal corrupt self there.

      USA overthrew a democratically elected pro-Moscow Ukrainian government.

      – Sorry, the US was not behind the popular uprising, the people’s revolution. Just like 1917 in Russia.

      Crimea and Donbas are Russian counters.

      – Russia put little green men in Crimea and Donbas, Russia was clearly the aggressor.

      USA was trying to get Georgia to become a NATO member.

      – The US and Georgia are friendly, but getting Georgia into NATO is a long, long way off. You might say it repeatedly, but it’s not true.

      Abkhazia and South Ossetia was another counter to US aggression.

      – Abkhazia was a very weak part of Georgia and fairly pro-Russian. South Ossetia also had lots of folks with a Russian background. Both were invaded by Russia under the pretense of protecting Russians in what was clearly a false pretense.

      Transnistria has always wanted to be part of Russia since the end of the Soviet Union.

      – Transnistria fought a war because they were pro-Russian, but there is no practical way they can ever join Russia.

      The problem is USA Imperialism not Russia.

      – Russian leadership doesn’t dream of a return to the Soviet state, it dreams of a return to Tsarism, a monarchy, with Putin leader for life. You, my friend, support Putin’s corruption, authoritarianism, and Fascism. Yes, Putin and Russia’s leadership is more fascist than any country in the world.

      You’re fairly articulate for a Russian troll. Hmmmm.

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