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.
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.