Navy chief: Russian naval activity in the Baltic routine

CommodoreJüri Saska, commander of the Estonian Navy
CommodoreJüri Saska, commander of the Estonian Navy Source: Open Spirit 2021.

The activities of the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea have been routine for the duration of the Ukraine war, said Commodore Jüri Saska, commander of the Estonian Navy. Thousands of ships sail in the Baltic every day of which a few dozen are of security interest.

Aircraft carriers are a rare occurrence in the Baltic. Britain's HMS Illustrious visited in 2009. The seas are too shallow for a carrier group here, while one could also provide cover for the region from the North Sea, Commander of the Estonian Navy, Commodore Jüri Saska said.

All Baltic Sea states are keeping an eye on what navies do in its waters. Estonia has been party to Finland's Navi Elektro marine surveillance system since 2018.

"As concerns Baltic Sea surveillance, cooperation has been excellent for some time, also with non-NATO members. It mainly takes place in the SUCBAS format (Surveillance Cooperation Baltic Sea) that includes all Baltic Sea states except Russia. Baltic Sea states plus the United Kingdom," Saska explained.

Once Finland and Sweden become full NATO members, they will also participate in NATO marine surveillance, the difference being in terms of the amount of data shared.

"There are roughly 3,000 vessels in the Baltic at any given time, while we usually take an interest in no more than ten. This number and the vessels' headings may differ, but that is more or less the volume of work he have," the commodore suggested.

There have been no changes to make us wary during the Ukraine war, he added.

"We need to keep an eye on the routine. Flags would go up if something were to fall out of that routine. Ships are moving back and forth all the time. What they are transporting and where can also be of interest. But I date say it [Baltic traffic] is quite routine today."

The commodore added that Russia's Baltic Fleet has around 50 ships some of which have undergone modernization.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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