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27 Feb. 2024

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Could putin attack NATO and is the West ready for it?

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Could putin attack NATO and is the West ready for it?

NATO countries may face russian aggression in the near future. However, a number of events, including the US elections, could affect the outcome of the confrontation between russia and the West. Find out what actions can be expected from the Kremlin in the near future and whether Europe is ready

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The rhetoric of the Kremlin and the russian authorities towards NATO and the collective West has always raised questions. Recently, however, russia has taken increasingly obvious steps to prepare for a conflict with Western countries. 


For example, the russian dictator recently accused the Baltic states of embracing "Nazism". He claimed that the Baltic states had declared thousands of people living there "subhuman", "deprived" them of their "most basic rights" and subjected them to "persecution". Kremlin officials regularly accuse the Baltic governments of pursuing "neo-Nazi" policies and "harassing" russians and russian speakers.


According to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), putin raises such rhetoric to create information preconditions for russian aggression against NATO member states. It's just worth recalling what russia's goals were during the invasion of Ukraine: one of them was "denazification". 


The Baltic states could be the first target of the russian army in the future, if the Kremlin decides to start a war against the West. Such speculation is also confirmed in the German media. The German tabloid Bild recently published scenarios of a possible russian invasion. According to them, the described events should unfold in February 2024 and a new wave of mobilisation of 200,000 russians. This, according to the German Defence Ministry's scenario, would be followed by an offensive in Ukraine, which would be "highly successful" by June. russia will then move on to hybrid attacks on the West, including inciting ethnic russians in the Baltic states.


The russians could also use a false claim of an imminent NATO attack as a pretext for conflict. The chain of russian actions will lead to the so-called "Day X" in May 2025, when the Alliance will deploy 300,000 troops to the eastern flank.


The idea that russia could attack a NATO country is also confirmed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who believes that this could happen within the next few years.


"It cannot be ruled out," former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said when asked by European Pravda whether putin would attack an Alliance country. "For example, I didn't like the way he talked about Poland in his interview with Tucker Carlson. So I think he might try to do something like that. And the chances of his attack will increase if he succeeds in Ukraine."




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Is Europe ready for a russian attack?


According to The Economist, rearmament in the EU is not going as fast as the West would like. This year, NATO member states in Europe plan to spend $380 billion on defence. This does not cover the existing deficit, which has accumulated since 1991 and now stands at $600 billion.

According to an unnamed US official, if US aid were to completely disappear, Ukraine would probably lose out. In this case, the question arises whether putin will go on to attack NATO countries. As we wrote above, analysts and politicians are inclined to believe that russia may launch an aggression against Western countries.


Currently, European countries are trying their best to catch up in the defence sector, especially as the Ukrainian army continues to experience a shortage of shells at the front, which also pushes the West to accelerate weapons production.


According to the publication, by the end of this year, Europe will be able to produce up to two million shells a year, potentially overtaking America. But this may be too late for Ukraine, which needs at least 1.5 million shells a year.


At the same time, Europe's total defence spending, even if it reaches the $380 billion, will only be equal to that of russia. That is how much russia spends on the defence sector.


In addition, Europe needs to take into account the enemy's nuclear potential. If we talk about the nuclear umbrella, it is the United States that is currently supporting it. In other words, the presence of an equivalent number of nuclear weapons in the US deterred russia from attacking. In the EU, only the UK and France have nuclear weapons. But they have only 500 warheads compared to 5,000 in America and almost 6,000 in russia.


But with the possible election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States, the situation could change, and in either direction. If the US turns its back on the EU, European countries will have to cope with russia on their own, which is not good news for Europe.


However, it is also impossible to say for sure that Trump will not support the EU in the event of russian aggression. For example, Kurt Volker, former US Ambassador to NATO and in 2017-2019 the State Department's Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, believes that "Trump does not know yet" what steps he will take if elected US President.


We remind you! The situation in Transnistria is escalating amid reports of the region's possible incorporation into russia. Read here how Ukraine is reacting to this and whether the Ukrainian military is ready to neutralise the russian group in the Transnistrian region.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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