The Baltics: should Britain be rushing to their defence?

In another vain attempt to drag another thread back to topic, and away from banking, there are other nations now operating in the Baltic area under NATO.
This is quite interesting, French tankies with Polish and Spanish too on a live-fire exercise in Estonia.
The way they (the squaddies) compare working conditions and comfort factors is amusing too.

 
There appears to be heavy pressure from the US to do something about the money laundering in Latvia. The involvement of Latvian banks with North Korea in particular seems to have the Americans worked up. The corruption in Latvia is pervasive however, and even with the best will in the world would take many years to clean up. It should not be surprising if a few sacrificial lambs are offered up to take the heat off a thriving and profitable business in the hope that foreign interest in the situation will fade and turn to other targets.

It should be pointed out by the way that British registered shell companies played a prominent role in the case of the massive Moldovan fraud, so it's going to take more than replacing a few figureheads in Latvia to really change anything.
I disagree. This is deeper.

Putin is trying to destabilise NATO member states in general and the Baltics in particular.

Lembergs is the recipient of Russian money and has had 12 out of 15 witnesses die over the last couple of years... all from natural causes. Given the chance, he will dissemble against visiting NATO warships and the behaviour of the crews which rather riles the sensibilities of the good burghers of Ventspils who all know he is a thieving toerag but he makes their city look nice - a giving thieving Hood of Sherlock Forest.

The Finance Minister is the protege of Lembergs - if Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics, was digging into other people;s pockets, actually, she should have known. Lembergs would have known for sure. He needs his cut.

Lembergs also controls the Ministry of Transport who were pushing for a plan to improve and electrify the railway to Ventspils for Russian oil transit. Opponents managed to force through a different plan - equally based on financial illiteracy - how you justify spending 460M of EU cash to improve a 300KM piece of railway when your profits are only 1m per year? And your freight tonnage dropped by 20% in the last year although it has been dropping for several years - did I mention that Lithuania will complete electrification throughout their route to Klaipeida for 300m for 300KMs?

The money laundering. There is a class of Latvians who believe that, ''hell yeah, take the money and run.'' Can you blame them? The former head of the Constitutional Protection Bureau was a former British Brig. Somehow he managed to pass his Latvian language exam and gain citizenship in time to be appointed to post, seriously? It was around this time that BAE Systems were flogging 50year re-conditioned CVR(T)s to the Latvians; Arthur Daley must be laughing at this - but he never knew, never thought about such an issue?

Of course IF he had help to pass his language exam, he wouldn't be able to say anything.

Corruption is insipid in the higher echelons of Latvian Government, are there any good guys?

There are, the younger Latvians who don't want to be involved in politics because they are all just a bunch a thieves so we will earn our money - but skip the taxes.

Which takes us back to BAE Systems or the UK in particular. Many shell companies have been used to facilitate the illegal transfer of funds from Russia and former Soviet States - the UK has aided and abetted.

However, why has this all come to light? Well the Americans have been pressing because Latvian was processing 2% of all Dollar transactions - indeed today I heard that an employee - not director or some such - was receiving 15K / month - that is a cost of nearly 25K a month to the bank. One employee. How can that be funded? She never, ever talks about her job. So, the Americans do have the bit between their teeth but for what reason? Why publish and punish now? To detract from American news?

This is so dirty now and there are many players involved but do not think that Latvia is pulling the strings. This is Putin and the US, albeit for different reasons and the US just discovered it can blow back up in their faces.

Do you like Russian Chess?
 
When the Banking crisis could send a serious rift through Latvian Government - bearing in mind the puppets controlled by Lembergs are happy to accept Russian money and influence and then the Latvian MoD weigh-in against this view, you would suggest that this is leading this thread astray?
 
Latvian defense ministry says corruption claims may be...
Guess who may be behind the corruption claims (rhetorical):
It did not say who might be behind what it called a “massive information operation from outside”, but said it was “identical in structure and execution” to disinformation campaigns that preceded recent French, German and U.S. elections.
The (alleged) Op is expected to continue until at least October and the election:
Citing those events, the defense ministry said: “There is a high possibility that this is a wide information operation from outside and its aim is to show Latvia as (an) untrustworthy ally and to promote the decline of trust in the government.”

It said the operation, which it expected to continue, was probably aimed at influencing Latvia’s internal affairs and parliamentary elections due in October.
In general, updated Reuters article. However, the counting of beans is not for me.
 
Equipment shortages impair German military ahead of key NATO mission
Meanwhile, concern is raised regarding Germany's preparedness to head the VJTF (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force) in 2019. The doubts are responded to by the German Def Min spokesman but include shortages in tanks and other kit such as body armour:
“German readiness levels are a serious concern,” a NATO diplomat, who asked not to be further identified, told Reuters.

Defense ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said on Monday equipment still needed for VJTF would arrive by mid-year and the German military could carry out all its duties when it assumes rotational control of the force at the start of 2019.

NATO’s VJTF includes 5,000 to 7,000 soldiers that can be deployed within days in the event of a crisis.

But Flosdorff said the ministry was concerned about shortages of tanks and other military equipment, such as body armor. The ministry aimed to reverse this trend, caused by a years-long decline in defense spending, by 2030, but this would take time, he told a regular government news conference.
The Greens seem to be getting some digs in:
“Will the Bundeswehr (German armed forces) be able to carry out its missions in line with its NATO obligations? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that we can be satisfied with the overall readiness of the Bundeswehr.”

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen pledged to address the gaps when she took office over four years ago and military budgets are now rising again, albeit slowly, but media reports of further shortages continue to surface regularly.

“The Bundeswehr’s problems aren’t new, but it is shocking that nearly nothing has improved after four years of Ursula von der Leyen serving as defense minister,” said Tobias Lindner, a defense and budget expert for the opposition Greens.
Scores on the doors:
The conservative daily Die Welt reported that the brigade had only nine of 44 Leopard 2 tanks, and three of the 14 Marder armored personnel carriers that it needs. It is also missing night vision goggles, support vehicles, winter clothing and body armor, according to German media reports.

-----------------

At the moment, military officials say none of Germany’s six submarines can be deployed, only five of 16 A400M military airlifters are ready for use, and it will cost 500 million euros ($618 million) to ready hundreds of new Puma tanks for combat.

The already troubling readiness rates of other weapons - including the Eurofighter, Tornado and CH-53G heavy transport helicopters - have also stagnated or worsened over the past year, according to multiple sources familiar with the issue.
 
In another vain attempt to drag another thread back to topic, and away from banking, there are other nations now operating in the Baltic area under NATO.
This is quite interesting, French tankies with Polish and Spanish too on a live-fire exercise in Estonia.
The way they (the squaddies) compare working conditions and comfort factors is amusing too.

Three points about the video:
  1. The French saw the climate and terrain as being frightful and difficult. That must be amusing to most people living in northern climates.
  2. When talking about the value of the exercises, a French spokesman mentioned the benefits of learning to work more closely with the British ahead of learning to work more closely with the local Baltic forces.
  3. One French spokesman said something about this being the first time that French forces have operated in the area since 1812! I'm not sure that was the most politically astute example to hark back to!

With regards to banking, the political and economic aspects of the situation are more likely to determine the outcome at this time than the military. The military position here is if anything intended as a political and diplomatic symbol to buy time for the Balts to sort out their domestic situation.
 
Equipment shortages impair German military ahead of key NATO mission
Meanwhile, concern is raised regarding Germany's preparedness to head the VJTF (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force) in 2019. The doubts are responded to by the German Def Min spokesman but include shortages in tanks and other kit such as body armour:

The Greens seem to be getting some digs in:

Scores on the doors:
Could you expand on the whole number of serviceable tanks in the German Army? Are you just troll for the British side?
To which, how many UK tanks are serviceable? Deployable? Please, as a wannabe information warfare bod who knows everything, bring some balance.
 
Three points about the video:
  1. The French saw the climate and terrain as being frightful and difficult. That must be amusing to most people living in northern climates.
  2. When talking about the value of the exercises, a French spokesman mentioned the benefits of learning to work more closely with the British ahead of learning to work more closely with the local Baltic forces.
  3. One French spokesman said something about this being the first time that French forces have operated in the area since 1812! I'm not sure that was the most politically astute example to hark back to!

With regards to banking, the political and economic aspects of the situation are more likely to determine the outcome at this time than the military. The military position here is if anything intended as a political and diplomatic symbol to buy time for the Balts to sort out their domestic situation.
@terminal thanks for that and your language skills. Informative final opinion. I hadn't thought of it.

However, it adds weight to the beefing up of both the US and UK Embassies.
 
(...) Lembergs also controls the Ministry of Transport who were pushing for a plan to improve and electrify the railway to Ventspils for Russian oil transit. Opponents managed to force through a different plan - equally based on financial illiteracy - how you justify spending 460M of EU cash to improve a 300KM piece of railway when your profits are only 1m per year? And your freight tonnage dropped by 20% in the last year although it has been dropping for several years - did I mention that Lithuania will complete electrification throughout their route to Klaipeida for 300m for 300KMs?
According to this Latvian government source: Business Infrastructure | LIAA 79% of total rail freight volume is transit traffic from Russia. They even say "Latvian railways mostly serve as a transit trunk-line". It would appear likely that without that transit trade, the railway might be out of business altogether.

However, why has this all come to light? Well the Americans have been pressing because Latvian was processing 2% of all Dollar transactions - indeed today I heard that an employee - not director or some such - was receiving 15K / month - that is a cost of nearly 25K a month to the bank. One employee. How can that be funded? She never, ever talks about her job. So, the Americans do have the bit between their teeth but for what reason? Why publish and punish now? To detract from American news?

This is so dirty now and there are many players involved but do not think that Latvia is pulling the strings. This is Putin and the US, albeit for different reasons and the US just discovered it can blow back up in their faces. (...)
If current news stories are anything to go by, the current American interest in money laundering in Baltic banks is due to them being used as a centre for laundering money for the North Koreans. North Korea is a major focus for the US at this time, and the Baltic states are an important hole in the trade sanctions the Americans are trying to enforce.
 
According to this Latvian government source: Business Infrastructure | LIAA 79% of total rail freight volume is transit traffic from Russia. They even say "Latvian railways mostly serve as a transit trunk-line". It would appear likely that without that transit trade, the railway might be out of business altogether.


If current news stories are anything to go by, the current American interest in money laundering in Baltic banks is due to them being used as a centre for laundering money for the North Koreans. North Korea is a major focus for the US at this time, and the Baltic states are an important hole in the trade sanctions the Americans are trying to enforce.
It is 00.00 here ish. FAIL. Try again. ( I have to sleep).
 
Is there not some bolt of lightning through your cap badge? Trigger.
You're thinking of REME. Still, maybe your 'excursion' to the bus stop or your drunken ramblings mean you've forgotten British Army cap badges.
Could you expand on the whole number of serviceable tanks in the German Army? Are you just troll for the British side?
I believe trolling is always knocking something. Pretty much like you do with the British armed forces and what you believe are 'funny quips.'
To which, how many UK tanks are serviceable?
I don't recall saying anything about British tanks and their availability. Perhaps it's mentioned on the relevant thread?
Deployable? Please, as a wannabe information warfare bod who knows everything, bring some balance.
I'm not a 'wannabe' in any shape of form. I have a real job but clearly I get under your skin which isn't hard for such a weak individual as you. Any Mods or Admins you want to cry to?
 
Just by the by, I notice in these films of training/ exercises a distinct lack of NBC/CBRN suits and equipment?
Don't I recall that chemical weapons don't work very well in cold conditions (ie. very cold), largely due to the solvents remaining liquid instead of evaporating? That was a quarter of a century ago mind, so things may have moved on a bit.
 
I am and your failure to admit it is telling.

My humour is well established thank you. Has YarS taken over your account and using American spelling? Humour

Keep digging Sergey.
Yes, I know about variants of spelling (humor, humour). Both are correct. This time my fat fingers failed to press 'U' button in time and I mentioned it too late. Though as American style spelling is also correct, I didn't care to correct the word, while as a rule I write 'humour'.

Let's return to anti-Semitic (from my point of view) action of Lithuanian official.
Do you agree that it is absolutely unacceptable in civilized society, that European and British politicians should react properly to such a blatant anti-Semitism?
 
(...) Do you agree that it is absolutely unacceptable in civilized society, that European and British politicians should react properly to such a blatant anti-Semitism?
Well the Speaker of the Lithuanian parliament seems to think that anti-Semitic statements are unacceptable, as he has asked that the person in question resign from his post, as noted in your original post. A committee will be looking into it. The official's job will be expiring in June anyway, so it may finally be resolved by simply not renewing his contract.

I'm not exactly sure what your point is.
 
You're thinking of REME. Still, maybe your 'excursion' to the bus stop or your drunken ramblings mean you've forgotten British Army cap badges.

I believe trolling is always knocking something. Pretty much like you do with the British armed forces and what you believe are 'funny quips.'

I don't recall saying anything about British tanks and their availability. Perhaps it's mentioned on the relevant thread?

I'm not a 'wannabe' in any shape of form. I have a real job but clearly I get under your skin which isn't hard for such a weak individual as you. Any Mods or Admins you want to cry to?
You really love yourself, right?
 
You really love yourself, right?
Says the person who is arrogant enough to say “It is 00.00 here ish. FAIL. Try again. ( I have to sleep).” albeit in that case you deserve each other. Not the first occasion and undoubtedly won’t be the last.
 
Yes, I know about variants of spelling (humor, humour). Both are correct. This time my fat fingers failed to press 'U' button in time and I mentioned it too late. Though as American style spelling is also correct, I didn't care to correct the word, while as a rule I write 'humour'.
English speaking board, write English in British English.
Let's return to anti-Semitic (from my point of view) action of Lithuanian official.
Do you agree that it is absolutely unacceptable in civilized society, that European and British politicians should react properly to such a blatant anti-Semitism?
I’ve no problem with the actions taken, just your missing words and your struggling to admit why you left them out.
 
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YarS

On ROPS
On ROPs
Don't I recall that chemical weapons don't work very well in cold conditions (ie. very cold), largely due to the solvents remaining liquid instead of evaporating? That was a quarter of a century ago mind, so things may have moved on a bit.
Sure. A-232 is very good to be used in the cold conditions, and even good old VR (VX) is continue to be liquid till to -39C, and still effective in poisoning of snow until spring. Thats why one have to exemine not only air, but snow, too. Fall in poisoned snow - you will be poisoned, bring poisoned snow in a warm barrack - VX will evapored and all personnel poisoned.
 

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