April 3, 2013
The West is becoming more and more alarmed about Zapad 2013 war games.
NATO troops will carry out military exercises in Poland practising defence of Estonia, while Belarus and Russia will repel an imaginary attack from Poland: They plan to rehearse a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Warsaw, Polska Times reports.
Tension between Russia and NATO has been growing since the beginning of the year. The Alliance prepares for Steadfast Jazz 2013 military exercises that will take place in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, while Belarus and Russia will carry out Zapad 2013 war games.
Polish ex- Defense Minister: Belarus is preparing for a war
Ramuald Sharametsieu stated that Belarus and Russia are preparing for a war with Poland.
Such an opinion the former Polish Minister of Defense expressed to Uważam Rze periodical, Radio Svaboda reports.
Ramuald Sharametsieu focused the attention on the fact that joint Belarus-Russia military training West-2013 will be held in Belarus in autumn. The military training West-2009, held in Belarus in September 2009 was the biggest in years and their scale was comparable to the one held in Soviet times. Around 100 planes and helicopters, more than 900 tanks, mobile guns and other armored machines took part in the training as well as the ships of the Baltic, Black see and North fleets of Russia.
The declared goal of the training West-2009 was the repelling of an aggression from the West.
Then the Polish Defense Minister Bagdan Klikh called the training a “demonstration of force”. In his opinion, this goal did not correspond with the related, since not a single country of the North-Atlantic alliance has any aggressive intentions against their Eastern partners.
When commenting on the preparations of the west-2013 maneuvers, Ramuald Sharametsieu assumed that their scale would be the same as in 2009. He also reminded the words of Lukashenka that Poland threatens Belarus and wants to take Grodno and Brest.
The former Defense Minister believes that Poland is not ready to repel the aggression from the Eastern neighbors.
Referring to the published report “Priorities of the Defense and Armed Forces in 2012”, Sharametsieu added that the main goal of the Defense Ministry were military operations outside Poland.
The former Minister also reminded that Russia clearly defines which countries are its potential enemies – these are Poland, Estonia, Finland and Lithuania.
According to the ex-Defense Minister, the current Polish leadership does not see the weakening of NATO and the fact that the changes in the world politics are unfavorable to the country. Ramuald Sharametsieu quotes Zbignew Brzezinsky, according to whom “the international crisis threatens Poland’s security”, and the country must be able to protect its territory.
“Either to protect itself, or to lose independence”, – this is how the dilemma of the Polish security is formulated by the ex-Minister.
Minsk and Moscow gladly apply to military rhetoric.
“We are not going to threaten anyone. We do not regard any state as our enemy. We are open and consistent focusing on collective defence. I mean the defensive capabilities of, if I may say so, the joint army of Belarus and Russia and the regional force grouping in the western zone,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka said about the manoeuvres.
The Russian Ministry of Defence gave to understand it doesn’t like Poland’s activity in NATO.
“We need to take into consideration the NATO potential. We see that Poland became a place for many of its infrastructure projects. We are concerned about it for many reasons, in particular because NATO tries to convince us that the threat comes from the South, Africa and the Near East. But we see military preparation in NATO’s eastern part, on the territory of new alliance members. We need to take it into account in our military doctrine,”Defense24.pl quotes Alexander Grushko, a Russian deputy minister of defence.
Though it is not stated officially, it would be rather difficult not to admit that Zapad 2013 exercises are an attempt of competition with NATO.
The Belarusian and Russian forces have organised joint military exercises since 2004, while the armies of NATO member states have had no joint manoeuvres since 1993.
The scenario of Zapad 2013 exercises is unknown. According to unofficial sources, the war games will involve about 20,000 troops (against 3,000 troops in NATO’s manoeuvres). A pre-emptive nuclear attack on Warsaw is among variants of the exercises. Specialists do not rule out the possibility that Poland’s cyberspace may be intruded. Poland was already threatened with Iskander missiles deployed in Kaliningrad region.
“Russia has reasons for concern, because NATO’s field is coming closer to its borders. The place of military exercises is always a form of political declaration,” said Stanislaw Koziej, the head of the National Security Bureau of Poland.
The number of forms of cooperation between NATO and Poland continues to grow. Patriot missile systems, F-16 fighter jets and Hercules helicopter are deployed in the country. The plans to deploy elements of anti-missile shield by 2018 are still valid.
There is little official information about the scenario of the war games and the troops involved, but it wouldn’t be wrong to suppose it will resemble Zapad 2009 exercises, which evoked a wide response. The exercises, which involved 12,000 troops, were officially called defensive aimed at ensuring strategic stability in the region. According to some reports, the scenario included attacks on the Baltic States and a preventive nuclear attack on Poland.