According to the German newspaper Bild, the Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces, is reportedly preparing for a potential hybrid attack by Russia on NATO's eastern flank as early as February 2024.
This development arises amidst escalating tensions between NATO and Russia.
Bild cites a confidential document from the German Ministry of Defense, which outlines a detailed "Path to Conflict" scenario between Russia and NATO.
The document forecasts a series of events that could lead to a full-scale conflict, culminating in the summer of 2025 with the deployment of hundreds of thousands of NATO troops.
The scenario, titled "Alliance Defense 2025," suggests that Russia will initiate a new wave of mobilization, adding 200,000 troops to its army. Following this, a spring offensive in Ukraine is anticipated, pushing back Ukrainian forces by June.
The scenario further predicts a shift from covert to overt attacks against the West starting in July, with a focus on cyberattacks and hybrid warfare, particularly targeting the Baltic states. These actions could lead to large-scale military exercises by Russia and Belarus.
The tension is expected to intensify in October with Russia's potential deployment of troops and medium-range missiles to Kaliningrad. By December 2024, the scenario anticipates a "border conflict" and riots in the Suwalki Corridor, a strategically important area in Eastern Europe.
In a critical phase of the scenario, as the United States undergoes a presidential transition, Russia, with Belarusian support, could replicate its 2014 invasion tactics in Ukraine, but this time on NATO territory. In response, NATO is projected to decide on deterrence measures by May 2025. On a designated "day X," NATO would mobilize 300,000 troops to the eastern flank, including 30,000 from the Bundeswehr.
The scenario concludes 30 days after "day X," leaving open the question of whether NATO's show of force would be sufficient to deter Russia.
This alarming scenario underscores the rising concerns within NATO about Russia's military ambitions and the possible escalation of the current conflict in Ukraine to a broader confrontation involving NATO forces. The report from Bild highlights the urgent need for strategic preparedness and vigilance among NATO members in the face of potential Russian aggression.