aA
If Russian tanks and troops invaded the Baltic States, NATO forces would be overrun in just under three days, according to a war games simulation by the Rand Corporation, a leading US think tank.
Russian tanks
Russian tanks
© AP/Scanpix

“The games’ findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,” said the Rand report.

In the event of a potential Russian military incursion in the Baltics, Russian forces would be knocking on the doors of the Estonian capital of Tallinn or the Latvian capital of Riga within 36 to 60 hours. US and Baltic troops — and American airpower — would be unable to halt the advance of mechanized Russian units and would suffer heavy casualties in the process, said the report.

“Such a rapid defeat would leave NATO with a limited number of options, all bad,” the report said.

Rand found that the United States and its NATO allies lack sufficient troop numbers or tanks and armoured vehicles to slow the advance of Russian armoured divisions.

In response to such an attack on the Baltic States, NATO would be left with few attractive options. The Rand report said the United States and its NATO allies could try to mount a bloody counter-attack, but that could trigger a dramatic escalation by Russia, as it would be likely to see it as a direct strategic threat to its homeland.

NATO’s second option would be to threaten massive retaliation, including the use of nuclear weapons. A third option would be to concede at least a temporary defeat, making NATO toothless, and embark on a new Cold War with Moscow, the report said.

The analysts said that such a catastrophic scenario could be avoided, but would be extremely costly. A force of about seven brigades in the region, including three heavily armoured brigades, and backed up by airpower and artillery, would be enough to prevent the rapid overrun, but the additional forces would cost an estimated €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) a year to maintain.

However, the report said that this would not be unaffordable in the context of NATO’s overall budget. “Crafting this deterrent posture would not be inexpensive in absolute terms, with annual costs perhaps running on the order of $2.7 billion.”

“That is not a small number, but seen in the context of an Alliance with an aggregate gross domestic product in excess of $35 trillion and combined yearly defence spending of more than $1 trillion, it hardly appears unaffordable.”

The study said that NATO has been caught napping by a resurgent and unpredictable Russia, which has been boosting defence spending after seizing the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and intervened in support of pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The report emerged a day after the Obama administration said it will propose quadrupling its spending its troops, equipment and training in eastern and central Europe to over €3 billion as a deterrent to Russian aggression.

|Populiariausi straipsniai ir video

811 coronavirus cases in Lithuania

On Sunday morning, there were 811 COVID-19 cases in Lithuania. 10 deaths related to the novel...

10th coronavirus death reported

Another patient infected with COVID-19 died in Lithuania on Saturday, bringing the country's death...

Lithuania no longer allows cars from Russia, Belarus to enter

A ban for passenger cars to enter Lithuania from Belarus and Russia have come into force on...

President signs into law tougher penalties for breaking quarantine rules

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has signed into law a legislative package introducing tougher...

Lithuania counts 771 confirmed coronavirus cases

On Saturday morning there were 771 confirmed coronavirus cases in Lithuania. On Friday, 75 new...

Top news

President signs into law tougher penalties for breaking quarantine rules

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has signed into law a legislative package introducing tougher...

811 coronavirus cases in Lithuania

On Sunday morning, there were 811 COVID-19 cases in Lithuania. 10 deaths related to the novel...

Lithuania's Devold says could make 100,000 medical coveralls by late summer

Norwegian-owned Lithuanian textile manufacturer Devold says it could producer around 100,000...

10th coronavirus death reported

Another patient infected with COVID-19 died in Lithuania on Saturday, bringing the country's death...

Lithuania no longer allows cars from Russia, Belarus to enter

A ban for passenger cars to enter Lithuania from Belarus and Russia have come into force on...

|Maža didelių žinių kaina