This was developed as notes for an interview with Ole Nyeng for an article in Weekendavisen. However, the editor choose not to use any of the arguments below. Instead the article ended-up being focused on Putin-loyal citizens of Narva that hoped that they would be liberated next after the end of the “operation” against the Ukrainian “Nazis“.

1) The Bad News
• Very long borders to Russia and Belarus
• The limited “depth” of the territory from the border to the sea
• The geostrategic significance and vulnerability of Lithuania: Vilnius’ location close to the border to Belarus; Kaliningrad treatening both the coast north and the Suwalki Gap
• The very small total size of the Latvian forces in relation to the area to be defended and threat from the east and up the coast
• The full dependence on external air support
• The experience of Ukraine regarding the totalitarian warfare of the Russians

2) The Good News
• Geography’s somewhat better support for defensive operations than in Ukraine (but clearly worse than in Finland)
• That the population will act as the Ukrainian, including the clear majority of the Russian-speaking population
• Skilled and highly motivated officers in the armed forces
• The experience of Ukraine regarding the weaknesses of the Russian forces (small size and low fighting value of most infantry; low level of air force tactical and coordination skills)

3) Can they be defended now? Unfortunately only a very short time due to problems:
• The vulnerable sea lines in the southern part of the sea (Kaliningrad and potential Russian capture and use of Bornholm and/or Gotland)
• The uncertain air situation: Lack of well-located NATO bases. This gives Russian artillery the same free and dominant role as we see in Ukraine
• The lack of enough effective weapons for the forces of all three countries (especially air defence; anti-tank; numerous very long range artillery systems including long range sensors; armed drones)
• Lack of powerful Allied presence, especially American

4) What might be done quickly to improve the situation?
• Massive weapons aid to the Baltics (as to Ukraine) in exchange for them quickly developing the size of their forces (in line with the Military Assistance model from the early 1950s)
• Building American and German presence to a substantial level, meaning brigade frameworks, mainly at the Suwalki Gap
• Securing Bornholm against a coup capture (as the Swedes have secured Gotland)
• Preparation of air bases for support of Baltic Defence (best and easiest if Swedish bases were available)
• A rapid American build-up of nuclear deterrence in Europe to deter Russian coercion and limited use
• The creation of a Joint NATO Regional Baltic Sea Command under SHAPE


  1. Bra, och tack, Clemme. Skall fundera lite själv också.
    Jag skrev ju en gång en mer historiskt inriktad uppsats på samma tema, i det första numret av Estonian Defense Review…. Allt gott!

  2. The most important measure that should be done immediately by the Baltic States’ governments and delegations in Bruxelles and Mons is to ask for a massive military assistance with anti-tank and air defence weapons – to arm the expansion of reserve manpower you intent to develop and use.

    The main problem is the Latvian rejection of conscription (as it trains ethnic Russians), but we can never get the bloody Anglo-Saxons to recommend national service for anybody.

  3. I think the good lesson from Ukraine is that light infantry armed with Javelins and similar high-tech rockets are effective against low-performing Russian forces. This is the old debate from the 1970s all over again and now the balance seems shift toward infantry again. Estonia and Latvia with their deeper forests are even better suited for partisan-type action against Russian columns than Ukraine. A week ago I was thinking that light infantry will be helpless against Russian infantry, artillery and air support but now I am not so sure. Another question is the utility of UAV-s. Do you think we should have a lot of UAVs?

  4. I agree.

    And I believe that you should both join forces in the 3B to buy high performance drones that should be combined with artillery radars with the main task of artillery destruction, and as the Ukrainians develop cheap own (suicide) drones that should focus on Russian logistics trucks, primarily fuel and artillery supply trucks.

    To delay the Russian advance, you should also prepare deep obstacles by multible demolitions where invasion routes use causeways, e.g. over swamps, lakes and marches and smaller urban areas should be prepared for defence. With the limited and mediocre regular army infantry (that they apparently cannot improve), that would be most effective.

    In your infantry a large number of powerful sniper weapons would be a good idea.

  5. Svigter Danmark ved ikke at forøge militær tilstedeværelse på Bornholm a la Sveriges forøgelse af militær tilstedeværelse på Gotland?
    Eller – har DK ikke noget at gøre godt med?

  6. 4.april Vi sender jo nu vores kampbataljon på 800 mand til Adazi hvor den først er godt beskyttet. Jeg har selv været der i 1993 efter at russerne frivilligt havde forladt de dybe atomsikre kældre. Og vores bataljon kan øges til 1000 mand og vigtigere med panser og luftværnsvåben m.v. som mangler. Vi er jo der under Canadisk ledelse som er mindst lige så god som USAs. Så vi er der og kan øve os i at rykke frem til Letlands grænse mod Rusland. Og tilsvarende er Nato med støvlerne på I hele Baltikum. Hvis eller når russerne angriber Baltikum med konventionelle Våben må vi se om de er blevet bedre til det end nu nordfra i Ukraine. Hvis så vil det vise sig om Natos atomparaply bliver brugt. Så får vi ragnarok og dommedag.

  7. Den danske bataljon kunne teoretisk dække 5 km af den mere end 1.200 km lange baltiske grænse til Rusland og Belarus. Hvis den havde logistik (herunder ammunition til mange dages kamp). Den mangler luftværn, moderne panserværn, overvågnings- og kampdroner, osv., osv. Dens udrustning og uddannelse gør den uegnet til andet end symbolsk solidaritetsmarkering. Læs min artikel om 1. Brigade for blot at skitsere første skridt.

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