A beefed-up American military presence in Poland is necessary, according to a new study by the Washington-based think Atlantic Council.

The study, which was reported by the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes, said that Nato forces in Poland and the Baltic states could be overrun if attacked by Russia. More specifically, the Atlantic Council study said, “a determined Russian conventional attack, especially if mounted with little warning, could defeat these forward-deployed Nato and US forces in a relatively short period of time, before reinforcements could be brought to bear”.

As reported by Radio Poland online, the study, entitled “Permanent Deterrence: Enhancements to the US Military Presence in North Central Europe,” lays out a plan to counter such scenarios.

The Atlantic Council experts recommended enhancements in Poland “because its size and geographic location make it a key staging area for most Nato efforts to defend allied territory in the three Baltic states”.

The study was authored by Gen. Philip Breedlove, the former head of US troops in Europe who also served as Nato Supreme Allied Commander until retiring in 2016, and former Nato Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow.

Last week, the Washington Post said in an analysis that a permanent US military presence in Poland “appear to have moved on from the idea of one or several major bases… to a more hybrid approach that could result in US personnel being based in existing buildings across the country”.

On December 22, Polish President Andrzej Duda said he hoped the US would increase its military presence in his country, reiterating previous statements by officials in Warsaw.