A strategic and operational assessment of the Nordic-Baltic region: the importance of the High North cannot be overestimated. Russia will protect its second-strike capability at any cost. Doing that, Russia will try to create an exclusion zone when it comes to hinder NATO air and naval operations as far south as possible into the Norwegian sea. A secondary effect of this ambition, if successful, might be that bringing reinforcements to Scandinavia will become a quite hazardous endeavour for the alliance. Which in turn would make it doubtful if NATO can reinforce its Nordic members and the Baltic states by sea. Russia trying to create an air defence zone to the west of the Kola peninsula will affect Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian land territory. The conclusion being that: Norway, together with UK, Germany and US must contain the Russian Navy as far north as possible and that Finland and Sweden will carry the main burden when it comes to repulse any Russian offensive on land. Presently Sweden does not have the means to be a major player in such a concept. In the Baltic Sea area, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all dependent on allied reinforcements to be able to ward off a Russian attack. The main problem being lack of ground forces and air defence assets. Their limited resources, both regarding economy and population, make it necessary to bring in these assets from the outside. Of the two alternatives: by sea across the Baltic or by land, the latter is a doubtful option due to Russian possibilities to influence movements of larger units through the Suwalki-gap, either by attacking and closing the gap, or by using artillery and drones deployed in Kaliningrad or Belarus. The difficulty to move larger units through the Suwalki-gap makes the option to use the Baltic Sea an attractive alternative, assuming that shipping can be protected. The main threat probably being submarines, antiship missiles and mines. To cover the time gap between the arrival of reinforcements from the US and the UK, Swedish assets could probably play a decisive role in the Baltic states.

Svensk text: Öppna