Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Poland worries that Russia at any moment may start a war with one of its neighbors

kremlin.ru/defence24.pl

 This morning, Polish media talk about one subject, the possibility that Putin may start another hybrid or real war with one of its neighbors. 

They all start with this unifying opinion:

Russian President Vladimir Putin may decide to launch another "victorious war," similar to the annexation of Crimea, to save his ratings and distract Russians from their problems.

According to them, it would most likely be a hybrid war that could involve Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, or one of the Baltic countries - many of them Poland's neighbors or allies, or both. 

Polish media extensively quote American political scientist Leon Aron. According to him, there are many potential targets for such an operation. His list has such "obvious candidates" like Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, in which it is enough to defrost "frozen" conflicts as well as Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, according to Aron, these five potential wars do not live up to Putin's ambitions or self-proclaimed "reconstruction and retaliation" mission.

"Such requirements would be met by a quick and victorious strike on the eastern flank of NATO, Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania," writes Aron. In his opinion, this could be a "hybrid" operation, similar to the Crimean one, carried out in regions where a large percentage of the population are Russians.

Aron recalls the opinion of General John Nicholson, former US and NATO commander in Afghanistan that NATO would take 90 days to deploy conventional forces larger than Russia's in the Baltic states, and says that both Brussels and Moscow know that that "in the short term, the Baltic states are indefensible." There is also a visible indecisiveness of the Biden administration that makes such a scenario a real threat.

For Poles, however, the attack on Lithuania would almost certainly mean an attack on Poland. Not only because of its NATO membership but also because of both historical and "blood" connections. Poland's current borders in the East were political. Many Poles have Lithuanian roots and still have large families there, so it is almost certain that they would demand a quick military response from their political leadership.

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