Fears grow Russia is using the Ukraine battlefield to rehearse for war with the West
Fears are growing Russia is using the Ukraine battlefield to rehearse for war with the West.
Vladimir Putin is thought to be testing tools for warfare in the field as he adopts a confrontational foreign policy stance - representing something of a "return to form" reminiscent of the Cold War days.
A leaked British Army document reveals that Russian forces are improving their ability to combine their mighty tanks, artillery and other heavy weaponry with sophisticated electronic warfare.
Specifically they are honing their skills to jam enemy radio signals and render equipment like drones unusable.
The secret document concludes one of Russia's goals in Ukraine is to practise "new methods of warfare as well as testing modern and prohibited weapons".
There are genuine concerns Russia's mastery of tactics - including jamming and hacking - is a real game changer, threatening Nato aircraft, GPS-guided weapons and the ability of soldiers on the ground.
The kind of weaponry Russia is believed to be testing includes:
A device that uses acoustics to locate the position of snipers so they can be killed
Drones that fly in pairs - one lower than the other to draw fire while the other pinpoints targets
Text messages sent to entire communities minutes before an attack to create confusion and panic by spreading misinformation
Ways of making the enemy's GPS navigation system falter and get them lost on the battlefield
Devices in civilian vehicles which can intercept soldiers' communications.
Furthermore, 'propaganda' is another weapon that is being dusted off and used to influence the will of the people through social media, mass texting and other media - without firing a shot.
The document - produced by the army's warfare branch - says that Britain must be better prepared to fight a war where everything is a weapon, from a gun to a drone to a Twitter feed.
It warns that soldiers are at risk of being targeted over Facebook and Twitter.
It even advises soldiers should leave phones and iPads at home - as details of US troops operating in Ukraine have been hacked and used to smear them.
The big fear revealed in the document is that Russian military can easily outgun British troops on the battlefield.
The report marked "official-sensitive" - seen by The Times - says Putin has a "significant capability edge" and a planned £3.5billion fleet of lightly armoured British vehicles is "disproportionately vulnerable" to Russian weaponry.
President Valdimir Putin is combining a show of strength and propaganda - reminiscent of the Cold War - seeking to regain a sphere of influence in the region and once again make Russia compete with the West.
Russian Studies expert Igor Sutyagin siad: "The difference is there is no ideology.
"It is a return to the imperial competition of the 19th century."
The British government has always insisted that it is capable of matching the might of the Russia war machine.
For Putin therefore, the annexation of Crimea has not just been hailed as a great victory back home - but has given him the chance to practice for what is to come.
( Source )