According to a new report Rand Corp., based on almost a year of simulated war games, says that NATO forces in the Baltics would be defeated by a Russian ground invasion in a matter of hours and the countries would be completely under Russian control in a matter of days.
According to Military.com:
“As presently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,” the Rand Corp. study says.
The findings are likely to come as no surprise to the military’s top officers in Europe, who have been warning that sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft systems could deny allies quick military access to the Baltics. Russia has superior numbers of air and ground forces across the border from the vulnerable Baltic states, which were once part of the Soviet Union. However, Russia has repeatedly stressed that it has no territorial designs on the Baltics.
Policymakers must determine whether the risks of potential Russian aggression are strong enough to demand the kind of reinforcements that could thwart a Russian assault. The costs of placing such a force in the region would be substantial but manageable for a NATO alliance with a collective gross domestic product of more than $35 trillion, Rand says.
If Russia did annex any of these countries it would put NATO in a precarious position – either concede defeat, which would likely mean the end of the treaty organization, or launch a counter offensive to retake the areas, which would likely result in a prolonged, bloody conflict or possible escalation to tactical nuclear war.