Amid increased tensions over Ukraine and nuclear arms treaties, the recent posturing by Russian military and political leaders has many concerned about the possibility of escalated conflicts or all out war.
As reported by the Inquisitr, Russia's political contingent recently showed up for the G20 summit in Australia accompanied by a flotilla of warships. Russian president Vladimir Putin appears to be responding to Australian prime minister Tony Abbot's attempts to confront Putin over the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in July. Abbot, as well as other world leaders, are reportedly furious at Russian leaders for the brazen display of military power at what is supposed to be a peaceful summit.
In addition to the military posturing, Russia also announced its intention to withdraw from nuclear disarmament agreements with the United States. According to the New York Times, the head of Russia's state nuclear company, Sergey Kirienko, recently informed the Obama administration of Russia's intention to reduce involvement in an effort to secure nuclear materials. The agreement between the world's two largest nuclear powers has been in place since shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Russia has also recently increased troop levels in the Ukraine. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Russia has been sending fresh troops, tanks, and other supplies into eastern Ukraine in recent weeks. Russian officials have also threatened to deploy war planes to the region.
Russia has also increased its long distance warplane missions over Europe as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed the maneuvers were necessary given the current state of affairs.
"In the current situation, we are obliged to ensure our military presence…and also conduct aerial reconnaissance with long-range aircraft of foreign military forces and shipping."
While many are concerned the show of force may be a prelude to war, recent events may have more to do with posturing than any real threat. While Russian military operations have been increasing regularly over the last two years, the Russian economy recently sustained a significant setback. According to Business Week the Russian national budget draws 45 percent of revenues from oil taxes. With oil prices falling significantly over the summer with no return to higher prices in sight, some experts are predicting Russia could lose as much as half of its $74 billion reserve.
A strong military requires an even stronger budget. Could Russia's recent tactics be nothing more than the posturing of a staggered bully? Or does Russia actually have designs on military confrontation? The world can only watch, and wait.
[Photo courtesy of RT.com]