Baltic Fleet Regards Construction of NATO Radar Stations in Poland with Suspicion

NATO's intention to start construction in 2003 of a long-range radar station in Poland, not far from the Kaliningrad Region, is being viewed with caution and even suspicion by the Baltic Fleet headquarters. This announcement was made to a Rosbalt correspondent by Assistant Captain of the Baltic Fleet Anatoly Lobsky.

NATO is planning to invest EUR 210 million in this project, having already set up 6 radar stations with a range of 440 kilometres close to the borders with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Another EUR 120 million will be spent on constructing six control towers.

'Unfortunately, this is not the first time that NATO has breached the verbal understandings that were reached in the early 1990s with Mikhail Gorbachev,' said Mr Lobsky. 'When the military bloc of Warsaw Pact nations broke up NATO promised not to exert its influence on Eastern European countries and not base any forces or facilities there. We still do not know about the performance characteristics of these radar stations and we can not tell whether they will be used simply as a defense system based within our neighbours' national borders or whether their capacity is intended for other purposes such as observing the activity of military units in the Kaliningrad Region. If the latter were true, then it would present a threat to Russian security, which obviously causes concern. Nobody doubts Poland's right to develop its military alliance with NATO but such steps can hardly be interpreted as gestures of good will.'