NATO Generals Caution Against Putin's Potential Strikes on European Targets

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.29 - 2024 1:50 PM CET

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Photo: jsec.nato.int
Photo: jsec.nato.int
NATO Generals Caution Against Putin's Potential Strikes on European Targets.

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Senior NATO commanders have issued warnings about the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin launching attacks across Europe in a comprehensive conflict against Western nations. In discussions reported by The Times, these leaders expressed concerns that NATO might have only a limited window, possibly as brief as three years, to brace for a potential Russian onslaught on European territory. Such an offensive, they fear, could involve targeting both civilian and military infrastructures to undermine war efforts.

The generals anticipate that Germany would be a primary target, serving as a pivotal node for NATO's supply chain across the continent. Possible targets include not just military command centers and munitions factories but also critical civilian infrastructure like power stations, railway systems, and bridges.

Reflecting on Russia's current military strategy in Ukraine, where long-range missiles have been deployed far into Ukrainian territory, the generals foresee a similar approach potentially being used in Europe. Ukraine has retaliated by targeting Russian ammunition stores, fuel depots, and command sites, indicating the nature of modern warfare tactics.

Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, leading NATO's military logistics center in southwestern Germany, emphasized the changing dynamics of warfare, where even rear areas are now vulnerable to attack. He highlighted the likelihood of an aggressor employing a mix of kinetic and non-kinetic forces, including sabotage, electronic and cyber warfare, as well as missiles and drones, to disrupt communication lines.

Sollfrank also called for a reduction in bureaucratic hurdles that currently impede the efficient utilization of military resources and equipment across nations. He pointed out the inefficiencies in the current rules on 'interchangeability' of equipment among NATO countries, citing the example of paratroopers' restrictions on using parachutes from different national armies.

The necessity to streamline these bureaucratic processes is seen as crucial for NATO's readiness to effectively counter potential threats from Russia. Sollfrank urged immediate action, stating, "Everyone can start. Just do it. And don't wait. Because in the end, we have no time to waste."

Lieutenant General Jan-Willem Maas, chief of the Dutch armed forces' Defence Support Command, concurred with Sollfrank's views. He acknowledged that NATO is not yet fully prepared for such a conflict scenario but expressed optimism about Europe's unity post-Ukraine invasion. However, he stressed the urgency of enhancing NATO's military deterrence capabilities to be prepared for imminent challenges.

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