#AceNewsReport – Featured Interview:POLAND:June.07: Former Polish army commander and ex-Deputy Defense Minister Waldemar Skrzypczak says that Poland and the Baltic states prepare for ‘hybrid war’ with Russia, while adding that NATO’s combined military power comfortably exceeds the forces at Russia’s disposal.
Sitting down for an interview for Baltic news hub Delfi, Skrzypczak defended NATO’s beefing up of its presence in countries along Russia’s border, arguing that “I wouldn’t say that this is an attempt to intimidate Russia, but rather the response by the [NATO] Alliance to a threat which could turn into an uncontrollable situation. What sort of threat? For example, a hybrid war.”
Skrzypczak noted that under the present balance of forces, the expanded Eastern European Rapid Response Force can handle the appearance of Russian ‘little green men’ “with ease.” However, ramping up the paranoia and alluding to a Russian fifth column in the Baltic states, the ex-general added that “the aggressor acts not only with the help of special forces.
His activity can be observed in a variety of fields –from military to political and the ethnic factor.” Skrzypczak did not make clear how this “ethnic factor” should be dealt with, noting only that “it is very important to understand what is happening and to provide a timely warning about the opponent’s [potential] actions.”
Commenting on the growth of NATO military might along Russian borders, including a growing permanent military presence, expanded and intensified exercises, Lithuania’s return to conscription, and Poland’s own intensive rearmament, Skrzypczak noted that NATO governments’ earlier policy was naïve for “blindly believing that good relations with Moscow [would] last forever,” adding that the conflict in Ukraine, for which he blamed Russia, “fell [on European politicians] like a cold shower.” In the general’s view, NATO’s more aggressive posture “is the only way to cool the hotheads in Moscow.”
Boasting that the generals of the Russian army “likely think of a conflict with NATO as a bad dream,” Skrzypczak noted that NATO’s military potential “exceeds at least several times the capabilities at Russia’s disposal,” adding that even on their own, the combined forces of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia would be a “tough nut [for Russia] to crack.” In the ex-general’s view, a war with NATO would “plunge Russia into chaos from which it would be unable to recover,” and for this reason “full-scale hostilities are not a threat.”
Retracting his earlier calls for Polish authorities to support Ukraine politically and militarily, Skrzypczak noted that this would be improper following “the Ukrainian parliament’s decision to recognize [Nazi collaborationist forces] OUN-UPA as fighters for Ukrainian independence.” Skrzypczak noted that “we Poles are against the honoring of the executioners of the Volyn massacre,” but added that “if we leave the Ukrainians alone, everything could end up even worse.”
Blaming Russia for the civil war in eastern Ukraine, caused in no small part by the radical nationalism supported by Kiev, Skrzypczak noted that while Russia is presently “trying to return to the international scene as peacemaker,” he remains hopeful that “the West will remain alert.”
Skrzypczak served as the commander of Poland’s land forces between 2006-2009, serving as the country’s deputy defense minister between 2012-2013.