Russia ready to launch offensive against NATO country, Poland warns

Poland’s military counterintelligence chief has warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is already prepared to carry out a small operation against NATO border states in northeastern Europe, as the alliance seeks to deter aggression by Moscow while supporting Ukraine against the ongoing Russian invasion.

“Putin is certainly already ready for a mini-operation against one of the Baltic countries,” said Jarosław Stróżyk, appointed head of Poland’s military counterintelligence service in March. Dziennik Gazeta Prawna publication.

The Russian leader, he added, would be ready “to enter the famous border town of Narva”, located along the Estonian-Russian border, “or to land on one of the Swedish islands”.

Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022 as a continuation of a war already waged by Moscow since 2014, has deeply frozen tense relations between Russia and NATO. The gamble also prompted Sweden and Finland to abandon their decades-long neutrality and join the transatlantic bloc.

Russian military police parade in Moscow in 2024
Russian military police march during rehearsals for the annual Victory Day parade on Red Square, May 5, 2024, in Moscow, Russia. The Kremlin is seeking to quickly rebuild an army damaged by two years…

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Stróżyk suggested that the Kremlin’s revanchist aims have been somewhat dampened by NATO’s response to its war against Ukraine. “What the West is doing together to support Ukraine shows it that in the event of an attack on NATO, the Western response would be even more important,” the secret service chief said.

News week contacted the Kremlin by email seeking comment.

Much of the Russian military force typically deployed along NATO borders has been redeployed to Ukraine, where Moscow’s forces have suffered heavy losses for relatively little gain. But allied leaders have repeatedly warned that Russia intends to regenerate its military to threaten NATO’s borders, while maintaining and expanding its covert and hybrid operations.

Meanwhile, NATO countries are racing to replenish their arsenals emaciated by decades of low-intensity conflict. Kyiv’s Western partners have been unable to meet the demands of large-scale modern warfare, particularly due to a lack of sufficient artillery and air defense resources.

Domestic political undercurrents have also limited their support at times, perhaps most notably in the United States, where a $61 billion financing package for Ukraine has been stalled for months in Washington, D.C., due to of partisan politics. Republicans have generally been more skeptical about aid to Ukraine than their Democratic rivals.

Former President Donald Trump, who will challenge President Joe Biden for the White House in November, has a major influence on his party’s policies toward Russia and Ukraine. Trump has repeatedly suggested that kyiv cede territory to Moscow to reach a peace deal, a proposal that Ukrainian leaders say will fail to thwart Putin’s broader imperial ambitions.