O Tannenbomb, O Tannenbomb

As spur-of-the-moment cover stories go, it’s just barely plausible.  Just barely.  Those Patriot missiles enroute to the Far East?  A completely normal government-to-government transaction  –so says the Bundeswehr, at least:

A spokesman for Germany’s Defense Ministry said the missiles were an official shipment that was fully declared and had all necessary clearances from German authorities.
“Those Patriot guided missiles are from the Bundeswehr’s stocks and have been shipped to South Korea” according to an intergovernmental treaty, he said, declining to be named in line with government policy.   He said no explosives were part of the [German] shipment and he didn’t have any information on that part of the impounded cargo.

credit: Sam Yeh

Finland isn’t so sure:

Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen said the ship’s captain and first mate were detained.  “The missiles did not have the appropriate transit papers,” Virtanen said. “We are questioning all the other 11 crew members who are also Ukrainians.”
Klaus Kaartinen, spokesman for the National Bureau of Investigation, said Finnish police and customs would continue their investigation. “Even if the missile cargo is a legitimate shipment, from a Finnish point of view the law has probably been broken because it was not properly declared,” Kaartinen said. “Also, the explosives were stored improperly.”

Markku Koskinen, the director of traffic operations at the port of Kotka, said “Otherwise, the shipment of explosives was legitimate and can continue on its way to China as soon as it’s safely packed.”

Nothing to see here.  Move along.  Now, Lunghu can understand why ROK might suddenly want to have a few extra anti-missile missiles on hand: after all, who knows what Kim Jong-Eun‘s idea of New Year’s fun might be.  And although the Germans are usually sticklers for following proper procedures and having all their ausweis in order, perhaps a sense of urgency was in the air and everyone involved took a few shortcuts as far as transit permits and customs declarations were concerned.

Still, Lunghu finds it rather curious that the Russian media, normally so intensely concerned about NATO’s anti-missile plans, hasn’t even bothered to cover the mini-drama unfolding just across the Baltic border to their west.  Perhaps they’ve been awaiting guidance from Novo-Ogarevo.

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