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Content available remote The military-geographical significance of the Suwałki Gap
Dynamic changes in the security environment are forcing us to reflect on the shape of the international order at the end of the second decade of the 21st century. Th e aggressive policy of the Russian Federation, which is confirmed by the conflict with Georgia in 2008 and the current situation in Ukraine, indicates that the use of military violence in the resolution of international disputes is not a historical category at all. Th is is of particular importance to the geopolitical location of the Republic of Poland. The length of our land border with the Russian Federation is 210 km, while with Belarus it is 418 km. Th e above fact has a fundamental impact not only on the public debate on the security of our country and the region, but also, and perhaps most importantly, on the shape of defence policy and the content of planning possible measures to prevent and counteract the escalation of prospective tensions in NATO-Russia relations. Both Russian military doctrine and the opinions expressed by politicians and specialists dealing with military issues and political and military experts indicate that, from the Russian perspective, the Baltic States’ membership of the North Atlantic Alliance and the presence of NATO troops on the territory of these countries, is highly unfavourable. Therefore, there are grounds to believe that countries such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, are treated by Russia as natural bridgeheads, convenient for bringing possible strikes against Russia. Th erefore, it is possible that blocking communication routes leading to these countries, while cutting them off from the support of allied land forces, may prove to be a key success factor in the situation of a hypothetical armed conflict, aimed not only at depriving these countries of their sovereignty, but also aimed at discrediting the power of the Alliance.
Content available The Suwalki Gap : NATO's fragile hot spot
The so called Suwalki Gap has been lately among important regional security related topics and it has been linked with its geostrategic location and geographical complexity of the terrain for conducting military operations. The threat toward Baltic states cause it to be discussed widely by civilian and military authorities, especially in the context of destabilising Ukraine and annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and possible assertive actions. The paper proposes an approach to the Suwalki Gap issue based on its geostrategic location and operational importance. It includes also its geographical characteristic connected with conducting military operations in that specific terrain. It furthers the discussion of tactical aspects of defensive and offensive operations there. The outcome of the NATO Warsaw Summit is also discussed in the context of Suwalki Gap as a land bridge linking Baltic states with the NATO allies.
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