Senior NATO official warns there could be a major war with Russia in the coming years
By Cassie B. // Jan 26, 2024

Although the situation between Russia and Ukraine has been largely contained to the two embattled countries so far, one high-ranking NATO official believes that it’s time for Europe to prepare for the possibility of an all-out war with Russia in the coming years.

The warning came from the NATO Military Committee Chairman Admiral Rob Bauer after a meeting in Brussels. He told reporters that government officials need to get ready and consider the possibility of large numbers of civilians being mobilized should a wider war break out in Europe.

He said: “We have to realize it’s not a given that we are in peace. And that’s why we [NATO forces] are preparing for a conflict with Russia.”

“But the discussion is much wider. It is also the industrial base and also the people that have to understand they play a role.”

He cautioned that the next two decades could see fighting, adding: “The realization that not everything is plannable and not everything is going to be hunky dory in the next 20 years.”

Bauer also commended Sweden for telling its citizens to brace for war. The country is poised to join NATO and sits very close to Russia. Recently, Sweden has seen a spike in volunteers for its civil defense organization as well as a run on sales of battery-powered radios and flashlights.

Germany is also worried about the possibility of war, with German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius stating: “We hear threats from the Kremlin almost every day ... so we have to take into account that Vladimir Putin might even attack a NATO country one day.”

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Although he said he does not believe an attack is imminent, he told the media that they believe this could happen within five to eight years. He also said that it is time to prepare from a social, military and civil defense standpoint.

Major NATO drill to be held with 90,000 troops

NATO troops are set to participate in a major military exercise known as Steadfast Defender 2024. Some 90,000 troops will be taking part in what is the biggest effort since the end of the Cold War; it is getting underway next week and will last for several months. The intention is to demonstrate that the alliance is capable of defending all its territory up to the Russian border and to rehearse how American troops can reinforce European allies should the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalate.

Along with the troops, more than 1,100 combat vehicles, 533 infantry fighting vehicles, 133 tanks, 80 fighter jets and 50 ships are expected to take part. Sweden will join NATO troops in the drills as the country is hoping to join the alliance in the near future.

Drills will be held in places like Poland and Germany, along with the Baltic states, which are considered to have a higher risk of potential attacks from Russia.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko has warned that the drills could provoke “military incidents.” In comments to a Russian state-run news agency, he said: "These exercises are another element of the hybrid war unleashed by the West against Russia.

"An exercise of this scale…marks the final and irrevocable return of NATO to the Cold War schemes, when the military planning process, resources and infrastructure are being prepared for confrontation with Russia," he said.

He went on to add that "any events of this scale significantly increase the risk of military incidents and further destabilize the security situation."

On several occasions, Russian officials have implied that the country could attack NATO members for helping Ukraine.

Sources for this article include:

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