Exercises “West-2017” in mid-September, can become one of the most ambitious in a long time. Now experts warn that Russia may use them to test the Western Alliance their hybrid military operations.
Barely finished exercises “Caucasus-2008”, as part of the 58th Russian army in early August, entered Georgia. Since then, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in practice, become a puppet state of Russia.
The first who warned about the risk of repetition of the plot, was then President Lech Kaczynski (Lech Kaczynski) that anticipated the creation of the schema.
“Today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, then the Baltic countries and later, perhaps, to Poland,” he said.
As for Ukraine, he was not wrong. In February and March 2014, Russia held large-scale exercises with the participation of 1,2 thousand cars-amphibians, 880 tanks, 120 attack helicopters and a large number of units. They remained in the Crimea and, say, a few days later participated in the battles. On 11 March, Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine.
Now many people in Poland and the Baltic States scare the giant Russian military exercises “Zapad-2017”.
Exercises “Zapad” held every four years. In the exercise of 2009 Russia has apparently worked out a nuclear strike on Warsaw, and in 2013, according to Western ideas, it was about the conquest of the Baltic States.
“The military doctrine of Russia has turned into a dangerous tool that can be used both for political and for military purposes”, — warned recently, Colonel Tomasz Kowalik (Tomasz Kowalik) from the Ministry of defense in Warsaw and Dominic Jankowski (Jankowski Dominik) from the Ministry of foreign Affairs.
Maneuvers “West-2017” will be held September 14-20, and will be conducted together with Belarus. They will be preceded by a number of smaller exercises. Based on the number of ordered rail cars, Polish experts came to the conclusion that Belarus will likely move two mechanized divisions with about 30 thousand soldiers.
To this must be added the already long-continued strengthening of troops in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, as well as three new divisions in the Western military district.
“Creating such a military power, Russia may use the exercises as a pretext to start a limited or more provocative military hybrid operation and see what happens, to test the Eastern flank of NATO,” warned Tomas Kovalik and Dominic Jankowski.
Much attention is directed primarily to the so-called Suvalki corridor in Lithuania — area width of a hundred miles between Kaliningrad and Belarus, which many consider to be NATO’s Achilles ‘ heel.
If the border area seize Russian troops land in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will be cut off from NATO. And on the sea, NATO will face with the Russian Navy Kaliningrad, and also with effective air defense.
NATO troops have just finished exercises near Suvalki corridor. In addition, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Western Alliance has placed three units in the 1000-1300 soldiers each, under the command of Canada, Germany and the UK respectively.
The goal is to send a signal to Moscow. However, these troops is no chance to stop the Russian invasion. According to the analytical center Rand Corporation, Russia would need no more than 36-60 hours to defeat the Baltic countries.