Polish political analyst Janusz Niedzwiedzki recalled that even before Warsaw decided to deploy an American missile base in Poland, Russia said that if it takes place, Moscow will respond symmetrically to an increase in the US presence in that part of Europe.
"In my opinion, all this is about a natural cause and effect. The reason for the increase in [Russia]'s missile power in Kaliningrad is the decision by Warsaw to deploy the US missile systems in Poland," Niedzwiedzki said.
Warsaw has appealed to Polish public opinion and tries to describe Russia's move as something that should incite fear, rather than as a symmetrical response to the decisions previously made by Polish authorities, he noted.
He said that "the atmosphere of fear is constantly being fueled in Poland amid allegations of Russia's looming aggression against this Eastern European country."
"But this deployment of [Iskander] missiles in the Kaliningrad region is just a natural consequence. With Russia's main geopolitical adversary deploying its military hardware near Russian borders, Moscow has no other choice but to build up its defense potential," Niedzwiedzki added.
When asked about the speculations printed by Poland's Rzeczpospolita newspaper on Russia's "persistent drive" to modernize its army, Niedzwiedzki pointed to the Western media's approach to covering the joint Russia-Belarus Zapad 2017 strategic drills.
He recalled that for two months, the Polish public had been constantly scared by reports that the drills are allegedly only a cover for Russia's military activity which could result in an attack on Poland or — in line with the most optimistic scenario — the occupation of Belarus.
"However, the Zapad 2017 exercises ended, the Russian army left the territory of Belarus, and those who frightened us with a Russian threat launched a new series of intimidation attacks, " Niedzwiedzki said.
According to him, similar biased reports are needed to increase "domestic mobilization in the country in the name of fighting a fictitious external enemy."
Niedzwiedzki said that regardless of Russia's real actions, "there will always be someone who will allege that something terrible is happening there and that it is aimed against Poland."
"Unfortunately or luckily, the facts do not confirm this as Russia shows a very restrained approach. Simple logic suggests that the increase in military capabilities and tensions on the 'eastern flank' of NATO and Americans' involvement in the process will prompt Russia to ramp up its defense potential," he said.
The Polish Ministry of National Defense and the US Department of Defense signed an agreement on the delivery of Patriot missile defense systems to Warsaw in July 2017 during US President Donald Trump's visit to Poland.
According to the initial deal, the systems should be handed over to Poland by 2022.
The Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude, air defense system capable of countering tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft. As for the Iskander-M, it is a mobile ballistic missile system designed to destroy a wide variety of ground targets at a range of up to 500 kilometers (over 300 miles).
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