Russia is ready, NATO will have to catch up

Russia is ready to conventional territorial conflicts, its army has worked this kind of action. But NATO stresses fellow, the Polish Institute of international Affairs (PISM) Marcin Terlikowski (Marcin Terlikowski), will have to catch up and remember how to defend its territory and borders.

On June 6 the Polish Institute of international Affairs published a document entitled “Trends in Force Posture in Europe”, analyzing it investments four Western European countries, USA and Russia in the defense sector for the period 2007-2016 years.

— France, Germany, Italy, UK and USA in the last decade have limited their spending on the military sphere, and Russia has dramatically increased. According to the report PISM, it raised its combat readiness, and working out the scenarios of conflict in the OSCE area. We are witnessing two opposite trends. These data raise the alarm?

— Marcin Terlikowski: this data is, indeed, disturbingly, because in Europe we have a situation in which one state, a nuclear power, which Russia is investing in its armed forces, engaged in their modernization and increased their combat readiness given the opportunity to use force in any scenario in the European territory. The most powerful countries of Western Europe and the U.S. the last 10 years, took the opposite course: they reduced the size of the army, was removed from service a variety of equipment, restricted military spending. It was a reaction to the financial crisis: to save the budgets that had to cut spending on defense. As a result the overall military capacity of the strongest Western European countries and the USA decreased, and the military presence of Americans in Europe has decreased. Meanwhile, the Russians were moving in the opposite direction and update the army.

— We have reason for concern?

— Balance was off, and it can persuade Russia to attempt to probe the possibilities of the Alliance. This situation undoubtedly contributed to the fact that Russia was able to easily Annex the Crimea and to provoke a conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

— According to the report of the Polish Institute of international relations, the Russian defense spending in 2016 has almost doubled — from 38 to 70 billion dollars (from 3.4% to 5.3% of GDP). Other countries suffered the consequences of the financial crisis and savings. Enough spending on this area of Poland?

Poland stands out from other NATO countries. Since 2001, she was sent to the defense of 1.95% of GDP, and in the last two years have brought this amount up to 2% of GDP. So, we formally carry out our political commitments within the Alliance. These are allocated in the budget share to decrease anymore, so we have a specific amount which allows us to plan the modernization of the armed forces for many years to come.

But if we want to upgrade, to buy modern weapons and to establish the territorial defense forces, funding will have to increase. It is planned that Poland will bring defense spending to 2.5% of GDP. This is the level which will allow all plans for technical modernization and the creation of territorial defense.

— You studied in all countries, which is dedicated to the report, increased the number of exercises and expanded their scale. However, French, German, Italian, British or American maneuvers was very different from Russian. What we should pay special attention to?

In 2013, NATO countries, in fact, practiced only a crisis of mission, that is, such operations as those conducted in Afghanistan. It was the operation to enforce peace, which included the destruction of the guerrilla or terrorist groups. Or the missions that the EU has pursued in Africa when European military equipped with modern appliances, fought with the enemy much weaker, but using guerrilla or terrorist methods.

The first exercises, the scenario which provided the protection of NATO’s borders took place only in 2013. The Alliance returned to the maneuvers of this kind after 2014, when the East Ukraine war broke out, but it’s a process that will take time: only in the following such exercises the main topic will be development protect the borders of NATO, the actions of the troops of territorial defense.

Meanwhile, Russia has begun to fulfill actions in Europe in 2007. The official said that it is preparing to confront the terrorist organizations or guerrillas, but in fact, she was preparing for a confrontation with NATO forces to seize the territory of other States, and even referred to in many reports, the use of nuclear weapons. It’s two different worlds. One thing the peacekeeping mission of the stabilization forces in Africa or Afghanistan (although it is also dangerous and requires a high cost), and the other — conventional conflict in which you have to defend your territory. Within 10 years, NATO was preparing for the operations of the first type unfolding outside Europe, and Russia — to the operations of the second type. The result is obvious: Moscow is ready for them, its army has worked this kind of action and apply this experience in Ukraine. The Alliance will have to catch up and remember how to defend its territory and borders.

Russia conducts sudden unplanned exercises, what’s more, it attracts them much more military — to 155 thousand people. The opposite side has been able to attract to the teachings of only 36 thousand people.

— Yes, and it was the only so major NATO exercises.

Usually the number of participants does not exceed 13 thousand.

Is the standard quantity for stabilization and peacekeeping missions, a larger force was not needed. Russia conducts their own exercises, focusing on classical inter-state conflicts, a conflict with NATO. First, it draws a large number of military, as required by such scenarios, and secondly, she satisfied sudden maneuvers, checking how the troops are ready to move to full mobilization for a few dozen hours. This is a characteristic of this type of conflict. When it comes to such a mission, as in Afghanistan, training takes several months. First, there is a coordination at the political level, and then accumulate power, as a result, the exercises also cover a longer period. The military are not require them to in a few days was ready to go to Africa and watch out there for the observance of the truce. For this mission need a mandate from the Security Council or Treaty with the country which requests to apply forces to safety, as it were, for example, in Mali or the Central African Republic. So that the sudden inspections of combat readiness did not require.

If Russia wants to test their readiness for the conflict with NATO, it is necessary to conduct exercises in such a way that troops can get information at the last moment. They raise the alarm, they quickly prepare the equipment and relocating it in the exercise area.

— The OSCE was created to prevent conflict in Europe, but this organization is doing its job not the best way — this is one of the conclusions of the report of the Polish Institute of international Affairs. The tools used by the OSCE, have been ineffective. What it lacks?

— Many of the tools — legal and political agreements that serve the preservation of stability — Russia ignores. Some of the contracts she’s just coming out. For example, it has suspended its participation in the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe, which, in particular, allow the military experts to pay mutual visits and to check what weapons are divisions in the border areas. This mechanism allowed the Western countries to know what the Russia, and to verify this by visiting the base. The Russians, in turn, was able to attend a NATO base. But Moscow withdrew from the Treaty, and now it is difficult for us to check in which degree of readiness of the forces on the border of NATO, what weapons they have. This is one example of the problems of such tools, much more. Tools for maintaining security in Europe the OSCE is there, but the fact that the organization is experiencing a political crisis.