Russia: Likelihood of Hybrid Warfare Activity Reaches Record High
Surpassing last week’s 78% prediction rate for hybrid warfare activity in a 14-day window, a threshold last seen only in May 2015, Predata’s prediction for the likelihood of further Russian hybrid warfare activity in the next two weeks continued to climb to a record high of 88% on August 16 (see below).
Russia’s strong rhetoric and military grandstanding last week, following allegations of a plot by Ukraine at the Crimean border, have raised concerns over a full-force Russian military offensive in Ukraine or in the NATO-member Baltic states. This week saw the start of two significant Russian military exercises. The first, in the Southern Military District (SMD) on August 17, involved the rehearsal of moving troops and equipment into Crimea; the second began in the Western Military District (WMD), where rapid reaction forces are training to repel a hypothetical NATO invasion in the Baltics.
Predata’s signals suggest these exercises, in light of last week’s incident in Crimea, are part of Russia’s strategy of hybrid warfare rather than being staging grounds for a broader military offensive. The last time the Russian-language Wikipedia page on NATO spiked came during large NATO military exercises, whereas activity on the page throughout this latest round of Russian exercises has been relatively moderate. The security subset of Predata’s Baltic I&W (indicators and warnings) index for Russia spiked ahead of the incident in Crimea on July 31 and is on the rise again following the launch of the above military exercises in the WMD and SMD.
Meanwhile, Russia’s overall military signal has been on a relatively downward trend since the beginning of the summer, rising slowly at the end of July with the launch of the typical August ramp-up in military exercises. Such strategic exercises and drills along Russia’s border with NATO and Ukraine are likely to continue in the next two weeks, with Predata putting the likelihood of another major military exercise at 45%. ⏮
Molly Dwyer is a Predata analyst. To contact her, email email@example.com.