Will there be a change in the balance of powers in Europe? Will Russia create a buffer zone and if so, when?
Events such as the expulsion of Russian diplomats from European Union countries – from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the withdrawal of European diplomats from Russia, the sudden call of the US ambassador to Russia for consultations with President Biden, the unexpected and sudden visit of the president – dictator of Belarus yesterday in Moscow, as well as the convening of the Federation Council of Russia – the upper house of the Russian parliament, which, among others convened before approving the change of borders between the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, and also before deciding to use the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation abroad – they prove that the situation in Europe is becoming more and more tense.
Yesterday, Russia’s ally, Lukashenko, probably received instructions on what to do and when to do for Russia. Ruling Belarus and his own life are owed only to the special Russian secret forces, which have recently prevented an attack on him and his family, and only the loss of life or power could influence him.
For many days Russia has been gathering tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine. Large-scale military exercises were conducted in Crimea to show the world the possibilities of a rapid landing from the sea. These are signs of strengthening of Russian muscles.
Belarus is in a military and customs union with Russia. The Baltic states such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are salt in the eye of Putin – as former Soviet republics and now members of NATO and the European Union, and they stand as a physical obstacle between the Kaliningrad District and Belarus and Russia. The same applies to the Suwałki Pass in Poland, which is also part of NATO and the European Union.
Putin aims to restore Russia’s power to the likeness of the pre-1991 USSR. He aims to restore a buffer zone in Eastern Europe. Such a zone previously were the countries of the former Eastern Bloc.
The Kaliningrad Oblast – District is part of Russia’s territory in the center of Europe. It is located on the Baltic Sea and borders Poland and Lithuania. It was established after the Second World War as a result of the division of the territory of East Prussia.
It is a strictly militarized zone with the most modern military solutions in the world, including systems of remote electronic annihilation of the enemy, which the United States and NATO do not have. The troops of the US Marines found out about it a few years ago in the international waters of the Baltic Sea, when Russia shut down their entire ship remotely from Kaliningrad.
Russia in Kaliningrad has 24/7 combat readiness, among others the most modern Iskander maneuvering missiles aimed at Gdańsk, Warsaw and Berlin.
Russia broke international agreements to ban the development of medium-range weapons in Europe a long time ago. The range of Iskander missiles increased, contrary to the treaties, from 200 km (short range) to 700 km (medium range).
Yesterday’s meeting between Lukashenka and Putin certainly covered the topics of military cooperation. If the president of Belarus has received an ultimatum and Russia deploys its troops on Belarus’s territory, Iskander missiles will be deployed first to the Bug line in Belarus, i.e., the border with Poland. From the point of view of the security of Poland and Europe, it is of strategic importance whether the Belarusian or Russian army is standing 250 km from Warsaw.
Subsequently, Russia would like to create its permanent base as part of mutual exercises with the Belarusian side in the vicinity of Grodno, i.e., very close to the border with Poland.
What could happen? The buffer zone under the influence of Russia would be a direct threat to Europe. It would also increase the strength of Russian arguments in international talks.
What would this change next?
It is enough to use your imagination and refer to the history of Europe and the world of the late 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. History likes to come full circle