The tension between Russia and the West has skyrocketed with the recent revolt in Ukraine and with the fate of the Crimea, an autonomous region with a predominantly Russian ethnicity.
Crimea, which did not recognize the new Kiev government, announced its willingness to join Russia. The latter has not pulled back, with a parliament that has given the green light to the deployment of a Russian military contingent along the Ukrainian border in Crimea. Instead, Ukraine has asked NATO to use all possible measures to guarantee the territorial integrity of the country. United States that welcomed the "invitation" and Pentagon that decided to increase its air presence in Poland.
Moscow certainly does not intend to lose its base in Sevastopol, command of the Black Sea War Fleet and strategic point for military projection in the Mediterranean. Also from the Crimea, Russia supplies the Syrian Assad regime that without this flow of equipment would no longer be able to counter the rebels, supported by the Americans. Strategically, Moscow cannot afford to lose the Crimea, otherwise the powerful American Sixth Fleet will remain a few kilometers from "home".
The Crimean Parliament declared independence from Ukraine with 78 votes in favor on 81. In case of success of the referendum of the next 16 March, Crimea will join the Russian Federation. Action deemed illegitimate by the West.
The forces deployed
UNITED STATES: six F-15C fighters reached the Lask base last week, at 100 miles from Warsaw, which became the main point of advanced American redeployment by the 2012. Within the next 48 hours, twelve F-16 will reach Poland. Sixth Fleet ready to intervene. The Arleigh Burke class destroyer "USS Truxtun" of the battle group (Carrier Strike Group) of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier "USS George HW Bush", flagship of the American Sixth Fleet based in Italy, started yesterday an exercise on the coasts of Romania, at about 220 kilometers from the Crimea. Unknown submarine force, but present. The Pentagon does not have a specific anti-tank component and the White House knows this. Because of the cuts in fact, from the German base in Spangdahlem, the Air Force suppressed the 21 A-10 deployed last year. They were the last "warthogs" in Europe. The crisis in Crimea also worries in the future because the cuts to the American defense (by the 2015 the Air Force will cut 500 aircraft), received with enthusiasm until a few days ago, are now beginning to be looked at with suspicion, considering the turbulent global context . The US, however, specify that the aircraft withdrawn abroad will only be 47.
NATO: two Awacs continue to monitor the evolution of the situation, carrying out aerial patrols on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
RUSSIA: the 98 Airborne Division based in Ivanovo is in a state of alert. Four thousand paratroopers supported by an unknown number of heavy vehicles have been moved to an unknown location. 16 Mig-29K were deployed at the Russian air base in Eerebuni, Armenia. Expected the redeployment of 18 attack helicopters. The Baranavicy airbase in Belarus will receive in the next few hours from 12 to 15 fighter Su-27 Flanker. Belarus already hosts four Su-27 fighters, according to the joint protection agreement between the two countries, signed in the 2009. On paper, the Su-27, one of the masterpieces of Russian engineering, is far superior to Western fighters deployed in Poland. Unknown submarine force, but present. At Kapustin Yar, located about 450 kilometers east of the border with Ukraine, 3.500 soldiers and various air defense systems (S-300, SA-17 "Grizzly" and most likely SA-21) were deployed Growler "). The Russians continue to amass tanks along the border.
In the picture a Russian SU27 - (source: Sukhoi)