Poland and the Baltic states may be attacked by unpredictable Russia at any moment, so Warsaw should strengthen its military and be prepared to hit the city of Kaliningrad with missiles, as well as be prepared for a guerrilla war and cyber attacks on state-run media outlets.
The US-based Atlantic Council released the 25-page document, called ‘Arming for Deterrence’ that says what NATO in general and Poland in particular should do to “counter a resurgent Russia.” According to the report, the threat of such an attack is imminent.
“Even if Moscow currently has no immediate intent to challenge NATO directly, this may unexpectedly change overnight and can be implemented with great speed, following already prepared plans. The capability to do so is, to a large extent, in place,” the report stated.
“Russia rarely disguises its true intentions,” the report said. “On the contrary, it has proclaimed them very publicly on various occasions, but, in general, the West has chosen not to believe Russia’s declarations and disregards its willingness to carry them out.”
According to the Atlantic Council, if Russia does invade, Poland as the biggest NATO member close to Russia would be “to delay and bog down an invading force and inflict unacceptable damage on it.”
“[NATO] force [in Poland] is not required to win the war, but it must be able to fight alongside the host-nation forces to buy NATO more time for reinforcement. NATO’s presence in the region is currently not large enough to achieve this,” the document said.
The report said that if Warsaw wishes to be able to deter Russia, the country needs swift reforms, such as strengthening numbers of the Polish military, purchasing new modern weapons, including the US-made JASSM aircraft-launched cruise missiles and the coastal NSM missiles, which could be placed in range of the Russian city of Kaliningrad and hit targets deep inside Russia.
According to the document, more multiple rocket launchers, UAVs, attack helicopters and other weapons should also be procured by Poland. In addition, Polish military should be prepared for a guerrilla war by building a network of shelters in its wooded areas.
“This shelter or bunker network, built with significant redundancies, would facilitate the deployment of ‘stay behind’ units. Poland’s military tradition in forest-based guerrilla warfare dates back to the 1830s. More recently, forest units resisted the Germans and Soviets from 1939 to the 1950s,” the council said.
Moreover, according to the think tank with close ties to NATO, Warsaw should “aim to join the tactical nuclear capability scheme within NATO, so enabling its F-16s to be carriers of tactical nuclear ordnance” and announce targets for potential cyber attacks, “which could include the Moscow metro, the St. Petersburg power network, and Russian state-run media outlets such as RT.”
The country also should “find new incentives for its citizens to remain in Poland rather than emigrate to other EU countries,” the report said and added that “emigration has reduced Poland’s defense capacity by draining people of military age, often with the technical and information technology (IT) skills that Poland’s forces require.”
Poland and the Baltic states are among the ardent supporters of an increased NATO military presence close to the Russian border. According to the block, it is needed to deter alleged Russian aggression. Russia denies having any intent to attack NATO’s members, considers NATO’s military buildup in Europe a threat to its national security, and accuses the West of reneging on a post-Cold War promise not to enlarge the alliance towards Russia’s borders.