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16 Jan, 2024 13:52

NATO has five years to prepare for war with Russia – member state

Moscow denies having aggressive intentions regarding the US-led military bloc and claims to be defending itself against its encroachment
NATO has five years to prepare for war with Russia – member state

Estonia believes that NATO has three to five years to prepare for a possible direct confrontation with Russia, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told The Times on Monday.

Last week German media claimed that Berlin was bracing for hostilities with Russia, which it projected could arise as early as summer 2025. Moscow brushed aside the speculation.

Prime Minister Kallas said the Estonian intelligence service VLA had predicted a three to five-year timeframe, noting that it “very much depends on how we manage our unity and keep our posture regarding Ukraine.”

“What Russia wants is a pause, and this pause is to gather its resources and strength. Weakness provokes aggressors, so weakness provokes Russia,” she told the British newspaper.

This month the former Soviet state, which shares a border with Russia, pledged €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) in aid to Ukraine through 2027. Last week, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenksy toured Estonia as well as Latvia and Lithuania.

The Ukrainian government has for years claimed that its fight with Russia was in defense of Europe, asserting that it shares Ukraine’s democratic values.

US President Joe Biden claimed that Moscow could attack a NATO nation after defeating Ukraine when he made a case last month for the continued funding of Kiev’s war efforts to the Republican opposition in Congress. In such a scenario Americans will have to defend Europeans, he stressed, but failed to convince skeptical lawmakers.

The Ukrainian government has found it harder to secure Western assistance since its attempts to conduct a counteroffensive against Russian forces last year failed to produce any significant territorial gains. Adding to the legislative gridlock in the US, the EU has failed to allocate funding for Kiev due to Hungary’s objections. The total sum at stake in the two proposed packages is over $110 billion.

Moscow has denied Western claims that its conflict with Kiev is imperialist in nature and aimed at territorial conquest. According to the Russian leadership, the US and its allies have escalated tensions by expanding NATO in Europe in violation of their own verbal promises and despite Russian objections.

The bloc’s promise to eventually accept Ukraine and practical steps in that direction after the 2014 armed coup in Kiev posed an unacceptable threat to Russian national security, officials in Moscow have stated.

The report on German preparations published by the tabloid Bild on Sunday was based on a purported classified Defense Ministry document, which detailed how a possible direct NATO confrontation with Russia could unfold. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mocked the prediction on Monday, comparing it to a horoscope forecast, while a Kremlin spokesman suggested that it appeared to be a hoax.