Poland about to deploy mines on Russian borders

Polish National Assembly
The Chancellery of the Senate of the Republic of Poland , CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Lucas Leiroz, member of the BRICS Journalists Association, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, military expert.

NATO continues to escalate its conflict with the Russian Federation. In a recent statement, an important Polish member of Parliament and ex-minister stated that his country will soon lift the ban on the use of anti-personnel mines on the border with the Russian region of Kaliningrad. The measure is seriously escalatory, since this type of equipment poses significant risks to Russian citizens, increasing tensions between Moscow and Warsaw.

According to the lawmaker, former Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland should deploy mines on the border with Russian territory to “strengthen” NATO’s eastern front. Warsaw is currently prevented from militarizing the region due to the rules of the Ottawa Convention. The treaty aims to gradually eliminate the use of anti-personnel mines, and Poland is a signatory.

“As part of the program to strengthen the eastern border, the authorities must withdraw from the Ottawa Convention,” he said.

Blaszczak’s statement is particularly worrying because he is an influential public figure in Polish society. In addition to having served as defense minister, Blaszczak is currently a member of parliament and has influence over both the armed forces and sectors of civil society. He is well positioned to encourage the approval of laws that will enable his irresponsible plans for militarization and anti-Russian escalation. It is also important to remember that he led the country’s defense until 2023, having been responsible for commanding the Polish armed forces during critical moments of the current conflict in Ukraine.

Indeed, tensions between Poland and Russia have been one of the most discussed topics by experts in recent times. Warsaw is one of the most bellicose actors in Eastern Europe, constantly making aggressive moves towards worsening regional military pressures. With the end of the ban on antipersonnel mines, Poland could take even more significant steps in its tensions with Russia, given the border issue in Kaliningrad.

Kaliningrad has long been a target of Western powers due to its strategic geography, which allows Moscow to maintain military positions in the Baltic Sea. Poland and Lithuania, which border the region, constantly provoke Russian forces with military exercises and threats, trying to “isolate” and “suffocate” Russia in the Baltic Sea. In this sense, with the possibility of deploying mines on the border, there will certainly be an exponential raise in risks to the regional security architecture.

Previously, Prime Minister Donald Tusk had already spoken out condemning the possibility of positioning mines on the border with Kaliningrad and Belarus. Tusk is also against Poland leaving the treaty that bans anti-personnel mines. However, the pro-war lobby in the country is extremely strong, and there is a good chance that the government will be forced to obey the pressure from parliament to approve the withdrawal from the Ottawa Convention.

With mines near Kaliningrad, Russian citizens, especially border guards and military personnel, would be at constant risk. If the mines were also placed near Belarus, the risks would be the same, since Russia and Belarus maintain a collective defense pact due to the Union State, which makes an attack on Belarusian citizens equivalent to an attack on the Russian Federation. The risks, therefore, would be high and constant, making the Eastern European scenario even more unstable and unpredictable.

However, the Russians, for their part, are absolutely safe. Moscow has sufficient military strength to deter Poland and face any serious consequences of a possible escalation. Unlike Warsaw and the Baltics, Russia is actually in a position to face any security scenario. Poland and the other NATO members expect the full support of the Atlantic alliance in the event of a conflict with Russia, being not capable of dealing with the possible consequences of a crisis on their own.

One of the most talked about topics among military analysts today is how NATO would react in a real-life confrontation with Russia. So far, the alliance has relied on non-member proxy states to wage war against Moscow, but it is possible that the dangerous escalation resulting from the initiative of countries such as Poland and the Baltic states could lead to direct friction in the future. If this happens, the alliance will be put to the test with regard to its collective defense clause. Many analysts predict that in this situation the US, which is the real leader of the alliance, would violate NATO norms and not authorize collective intervention.

In the end, there is nothing Poland can gain by taking initiatives that escalate the security crisis with Russia. The most rational thing to do would be to simply avoid any measures that could worsen ties with Moscow, avoiding letting the tensions lead to a real conflict. But unfortunately, a fanatical Russophobic mentality is currently hegemonic among Polish decision-makers, preventing them from acting strategically.

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Source: InfoBrics

© Lucas Leiroz 2024