NATO and Russia: mutual accusations

NATO and Russia continue to strengthen their borders, deploying more troops and military equipment. Large-scale military exercises conducted alternately by Russia, then by NATO are the demonstration of superiority.

It should be said that this takes place against the backdrop of increased mutual accusations in recent years.

Last year NATO accused Russia of misleading the Alliance over the scope of its exercise known as ‘Zapad’, in violation of rules meant to reduce East-West tensions. Russia’s defense ministry said the war games included some 12,700 troops. NATO said there were far more troops.

In its turn, NATO (US in particular) also formally violates the Vienna Document 2011 on Confidence- and Security-building Measures which imposes restrictions on military activities in Europe. Moreover, since 2014 the Alliance constantly increases the number of troops in the Baltic region and conducts large-scale exercises.

It is known that this year NATO will conduct ‘Anakonda 2018’ exercise in Poland and more than 100 thousand soldiers are expected to participate. NATO member countries and the NATO partner countries will participate in the war exercises along with Poland. Poland is deploying around 20,000 soldiers for this exercise. Other than this, there will be 5,000 armoured vehicles, tanks, heavy artillery, 150 fighter jets and 45 warships participating in the exercise.

Under Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe rules in the Vienna Document, nations conducting exercises involving more than 13,000 troops must notify other countries in advance and be open to observers.

It should be noted that ‘Anakonda-2016’ military exercise involved 31,000 soldiers and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries.

This year Poland clearly violates the requirements of paragraph 40.1.1 of Chapter V (Prior Notification of Certain Military Activities (CMA)) of the OSCE Vienna Document 11 in terms of the number of troops and military equipment involved.

Moreover, Poland is trying in every possible way to misinform the public about the date of the exercise. Initially NATO did not even announce the holding of a large-scale military exercise ‘Anakonda 2018’. Then the Polish media reported that the maneuvers will begin in the summer of 2018.

There has been speculation that NATO could use the forthcoming exercise as a cover for the permanent deployment of troops and equipment in Poland or even an offensive against ‘East’.

A possible accidental conflict between Europe and Russia was discussed at the ‘Munich Security Conference’. The report of the US think tank becomes important against this background. The report named ‘Assessing the Conventional Force Imbalance in Europe’ clearly warns that Russia can easily take control of the Baltic countries and attain its goal, in case of a conflict in that region.

This is why conducting the most large-scale NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea region is only a cover for the relocation of the huge amount of military equipment and weapons to Russia’s borders.

According to Polish media, ‘Anakonda 2018’ is the largest, periodic (biennial, since 2006) joint exercise organized by Poland with international participation of allies. This year’s ‘Anakonda 2018’ will involve troops and equipment from 10 NATO nations and international staff from NATO Command Structure and NATO Force Structure.

It will take place from November 7 until December 6, 2018 and will be organized in the military training areas of Poland, as well as in the international air space and the Baltic Sea. This year ‘Anakonda 2018’ exercise will be also conducted in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

‘Anakonda 2018’ will be the highest priority, key training event of Polish Armed Forces (PAF) in 2018, air domain centric but geographically oriented on the planning and conduct of joint, air-land operations along the Eastern flank of NATO.

Unfortunately, the mutual practice of concealment or distortion of the military exercises’ scope over the past ten years has destroyed the provisions of the Vienna Document. It is impossible to take for granted any longer that information provided by Warsaw and NATO under provisions of the European confidence-building measures process is either accurate or truthful.

It is time to recognise that the Vienna Document which allows its signatories to behave with impunity is out of date.

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