It seems as though once again the fate of Europe may rest on the ability of the Polish cavalry to defend the continent from the barbarians to the East. Only this time the latter are not Turks.
Poland to hold countrywide defense drills: president's adviser
(Reuters) - Poland will stress-test its defense capabilities with a series of countrywide drills involving the government, local authorities and the military in response to the Ukraine crisis, Polish president's chief security adviser said.
A former eastern bloc country which became a NATO member in 1999, Poland is concerned that Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in Ukraine may be a foretaste of it reasserting itself in the rest of Eastern Europe.
Since the beginning of the crisis, Polish politicians have regularly called for increasing NATO's military presence in the region. Poland has also speeded up its army modernization program, worth an estimated $33 billion.
Poland will assess its overall readiness for a potential military conflict, General Stanislaw Koziej, head of National Security Bureau told Reuters in an interview authorized for release on Thursday, with drills likely to begin in the second half of this year.
"It is a whole series of exercises, aimed at testing ... all of the state's elements - the government, ministers, regional governors, local councils, boroughs - in a time of crisis and war," said Koziej, who advises President Bronislaw Komorowski on security.
"These elements - including a candidate for wartime commander-in-chief, who should be appointed soon - need to be trained."
Koziej said Russia was waging an "information war" on the West. "Without a doubt, Poland is already a target of Russian aggression in that respect ... It involves television channels, radio stations, activities of various (Internet) trolls on social networks."
"These are not spontaneous, individual activities, it's a coordinated and organized action, a managed campaign" he said.