The US has deployed a new detachment of F-15C fighter jets to the Baltic states this week, anticipating an increase in aerial patrols in the lead-up to joint wargames between Russia and Belarus, which are scheduled to begin on September 14.
Russian officials have issued multiple statements attempting to assure NATO that the wargames are nowhere near as big as they are being presented, and are merely an exercise of a “defensive scenario.”
NATO, however, is interpreting it the same way they’ve interpreted every action Russia has taken in recent years, as a prelude to a wholesale Russian invasion of Eastern Europe. This is fueling calls not just for the US deployment, but more NATO buildup in the Baltics.
NATO has, of course, been predicting an imminent Russian invasion for several years now, and has been using that as a constant pretext for adding more troops to the Russian border. At this point, no one seriously expects Russia to invade anymore, but are eager to keep playing that card for the sake of their deployments.