Revelation: Russian War Games in September Simulated Nuclear and Conventional Attacks on Poland
… that would be right around the time President Obama announced that his administration would abandon plans for an American missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.
In August, 2008, Poland had reached an agreement with the Bush administration to host components of a missile defense shield, an arrangement that had “deeply angered” Russia. Reacting to the news, a Russian general stated that
“Poland is making itself a target. This is 100 percent” certain, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted General Anatoly Nogovitsyn as saying.
“It becomes a target for attack. …”
Oops, he lied. A year later, President Obama cancelled the missile defense shield, which should have restored Poland’s innocence. But it now appears that Poland is still very much a target for Russia.
The Telegraph (UK) reports today that the Polish weekly magazine Wprost (linked in conformance with blogotory style for the convenience of our Polish speaking readers) obtained documents pertaining to the Russian war games which targeted one of our allies.
The manoeuvres are thought to have been held in September and involved about 13,000 Russian and Belarusian troops.
Poland, which has strained relations with both countries, was cast as the “potential aggressor”.
The documents state the exercises, code-named “West”, were officially classified as “defensive” but many of the operations appeared to have an offensive nature.
The Russian air force practised using weapons from its nuclear arsenal, while in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which neighbours Poland, Red Army forces stormed a “Polish” beach and attacked a gas pipeline.
The operation also involved the simulated suppression of an uprising by a national minority in Belarus – the country has a significant Polish population which has a strained relationship with authoritarian government of Belarus.
Rumors about President Obama reconsidering plans for the missile shield had surfaced as early as March, 2009. Yet Russia proceeded with war games – clearly offensive and not defensive in nature – that can only be viewed as an explicit threat to a sovereign nation. Did they do so despite the missile shield or because it would soon be gone?
Whatever the exact order of events in September – war games followed shortly by President Obama’s announcement or vice versa – this is a nasty development that simultaneously deals a blow to Poland’s sense of national security and cannot but cast doubt on the foreign policy judgment of our own President.