WikiLeaks: Nato allies have secret plan for defending eastern Europe from Russia
Nato allies have drawn up a secret plan for defending several eastern European countries in the event of aggression by Russia for the first time since the end of the Cold War, diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks disclose.
The plan, which is code-named Eagle Guardian, was secretly agreed in January and covers the defence of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by troops from the US, Britain, Germany and Poland.
It expands an existing plan to cover the Baltic states and was initiated by Germany after years of diplomatic wrangling within the western alliance over the defence of the region.
The move was welcomed by Latvia and Estonia, cables sent back from those countries show. But Poland was concerned about having its security lumped in with the other states.
Diplomats from the US, which is supposed to be enjoying a "reset" in relations with Russia since the election of Barack Obama, stressed that the plan must be kept secret to avoid angering Moscow.
In a memo distributed in January 2009, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, wrote: "The United States believes strongly that such planning should not be discussed publicly.
"A public discussion of contingency planning would also likely lead to an unnecessary increase in Nato-Russia tensions." Other cables show that the US has agreed to enhance Poland's defences against Russia by sending F16 fighter jets to the country and deploying naval forces to the ports of Gdansk and Gdynia.
However, another memo discloses the Polish government was furious that the much-vaunted US Patriot missile systems that have been rotated into the country earlier this year were not actually armed.
"Deputy Defense Minister Komorowski angrily responded that Poland expected to have operational missiles, not 'potted plants'," Victor Ashe, the former US ambassador to Warsaw reported.