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Belarus in the focus of Poland and NATO

Беларусь в центре внимания Польши и НАТО

A group of authors of the Polish Institute of international Affairs prepared a report on “security Problems in the relations of Poland and Belarus.”

It is no secret that this Polish “ideas factory”, is under the control of the Ministry of foreign Affairs and financed from the state budget, and therefore represents the point of view of official Warsaw.

The report is very interesting to look at the background of the ongoing negotiations on the integration of Belarus and Russia. The document States that Minsk cannot lead a fully independent defence policy for the Union with Russia, including the establishment of the Union state, Belarus ‘ membership in the organization of collective security Treaty (CSTO) and low by European standards, military spending (only about $ 550 million a year, less even than in neighboring Lithuania, which is much inferior in numbers of aircraft).

Polish political analysts say that the Belarusian authorities appreciate the growing tension in Europe. The most important security challenges of Minsk includes the “undeclared war of Russia and Ukraine,” the collapse of international security guarantees like the Budapest Memorandum with Ukraine and the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range; the strengthening of the military potential of the NATO countries and Russia.

The report of the Polish Institute of international Affairs stated that Belarus is afraid of expanding the US military presence and NATO in Poland and the Baltic States. Though Minsk does not consider it as a threat to national security, and considers how increased tension in the region, as the item is too expensive for itself, the arms race and an excuse to put pressure on Russia to increase its military presence on the territory of Belarus.

According to the authors, the Belarusian leadership understands the danger of a growing dependence on Russia and possible undermining of the credibility of the country as peaceful negotiation platform.

In addition, the report stressed that Belarus is also concerned about the exercises, which are held in the countries of the Eastern flank of the Alliance. Supposedly these concerns are not so much concerned with the orientation and nature of the maneuvers, but with a possible negative reaction and response to them again, Russia.

It’s hard not to agree that, despite Poland’s membership in NATO, and Belarus in the CSTO, both countries are in a zone of risk because of the rise of security threats in the region. For States, also, the key issue is the preservation of existing regimes of arms control.

However, the report States that the blame for the activities of Russia again, strengthen your Western flank of the allegedly provocative military incidents on the border with NATO countries and not transparent conducting military activities, such for example, as the sudden large-scale exercises.

Thus, the authors believe that the strengthening of the security of Belarus should contribute to the updating of the Vienna document, proposed by a number of countries, including Poland.

We are talking about introduction of additional inspections, increased restrictions, an obligation to invite observers to the exercises – when engaging in maneuvers over 9 thousand people (currently 13 thousand) or 250 tanks (currently 300), the introduction of mandatory notification about the sudden exercise for seven days, and their observations in excess of the limits of the involved forces and means.

It should be noted that the signed in 2004, the bilateral agreement between Belarus and Poland on measures of strengthening trust and security, complementary to the Vienna document, among other things, reduce the mandatory limits for observing exercises on the territory of the two countries up to 6 thousand participants and 150 tanks.

Also, according to the report, in the interest of Minsk to support proposals on issues such as a demonstration not only of putting a new weapon into operation, but also modified versions of existing weapons and the creation of his complete list for the countries of the OSCE or the simplification of the monitoring in places where there are unusual military action.

Polish politicians insist that the Minsk adoption of these proposals and their implementation may initiate negotiations for major changes to security in Europe, which is currently impossible to implement due to the low level of trust between the West and Russia and its aggressive policy.

In return, Polish scientists suggest discussion related to reform of the security system in Europe, called “Minsk map”. The report of the Institute stated that the title would be more appropriate for initiatives on adaptation of existing international standards to the threats of a new kind of “Helsinki-2”, which involve only revising them.

The participation of Poland in this format, according to the authors, should allow Warsaw to form most acceptable ideas in the strengthening of arms control or the introduction of a mechanism for prevention of incidents.

In addition, Warsaw can offer support to Belarus in the process of signing security agreement with NATO and further expansion of cooperation with the Alliance.

It is noted that confidence-building in military relations with Belarus, may contribute truthful information on planned for 2020, the NATO exercise “Defender of Europe”. Including not only the national implementation of the Alliance obligations arising from the Vienna document, but also other steps, for example, briefings on these maneuvers. Poland can in this field to take additional diplomatic measures on the basis of bilateral agreement with Belarus on measures of strengthening trust and security. In return, Warsaw would like response from Minsk during the exercises “West — 2021”.

Search Poland “points of contact” with Belarus on issues of regional security may be a good opportunity to create conditions to promote their own ideas and further strengthen the leadership of Warsaw among the countries of Eastern Europe. It is obvious that the main efforts of the Western neighbor aimed at discrediting the Belarusian-Russian relations and national security system of Belarus.

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