NATO conducts military exercise on Polish-Lithuanian border

  • Tomáš Hošek
  • 23.6.2017 09:41

Between 17 - 19 June NATO’s U.S. and British troops performed the first-ever extensive army drill on the border separating Poland and Lithuania. The UK and U.S. aircraft, joined by the Polish, Lithuanian and Croatian infantry, conducted a war game simulating a potential occupation of the Suwalki Gap by Russian forces, which could result in isolating the Baltic States from the rest of the Alliance. The event was a part of a long-standing military exercise called “Saber Strike” and up to 1,500 troops, commanded by the Polish multinational “Enhanced Forward Presence” Battle Group, participated.

The Suwalki Gap is a vulnerable area between Belarus and the Russian enclave Kaliningrad. The performed exercise goes hand in hand with NATO’s general efforts to enhance its operability in the Baltics and Poland in response to Russia’s aggressive policy after its annexation of Crimea in 2014. At the same time, NATO's activities could be understood as an answer to the Russian-Belarusian military exercise codenamed “Zapad”, planned for September. According to Baltic officials, Moscow will also rehearse an attack on the Suwalki Gap during Zapad. The recent deployment of Russian rocket systems in Kaliningrad also sparks concerns. It is therefore possible to expect the Alliance to continue strengthening its eastern flank, as long as the Russian federation increases the pressure.

About author: Tomáš Hošek

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