The Russian Navy has conducted live-fire drills in the Baltic Sea in a provoked move designed to increase pressure on NATO amid escalating tensions over Ukraine. American news outlet CNBC has reported on a newly released by Russia’s Ministry of Defence footage showing “target practice” drills taking place.
CNBC’s David Shepard said: “Russia continues to ramp up military forces near Ukraine.
“This is a new video from today of Russian tank and artillery drills near the Ukrainian border.
“Russian warships deployed to the Baltic Sea for target practice as they put it, the Baltic Sea surrounded by six NATO countries.
“Russia and state media report the ships wiped out all of the aerial targets.
“Even more Russian fighter jets have arrived in Belarus,’ added the American anchorman.
That’s a close Russian ally that also borders Ukraine.
“Belarusian says the Russian forces are there only for joint military exercises and they will leave once they’re complete.”
It comes as an international relations expert warned that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was determined to make Russia a “significant power in the world”.
Cambridge University lecturer Ian Shields told Express.co.uk: “Putin will send troops in – I think he’s confident that the downsides would be worth the risks.
“He would see it as much as anything as a tool to continue to fracture the Western alliance.”
He added: “You only have to look at Putin’s character, the pictures of him riding around on horses with no shirt on -he has a strongman vision, which is hugely positive in Russian domestic politics.
“He is a cold war warrior, he still has negative feelings towards the demise of the Soviet Union.. Russia coming second in the Cold War.. he is looking to establish Russia as a significant power in the world.
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“All of this plays into the western society of Russia, it’s a very macho culture, they drink vodka, smoke cigarettes, they are very, very macho characters.
“Putin epitomises this.”
“Russia is no stranger to being isolated, no stranger to being invaded, no stranger to hardship,” Mr Shields continued.
“Putin will just use this as a way of getting together the Russian people.. we are being wronged here.”