Espreso. Global
OPINION

Putin may attempt to test NATO's resolve

3 March, 2024 Sunday
22:17

Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin, during his address to the Russian Federal Assembly, again threatened to use Russia's nuclear weapons

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This time, according to Putin, the intention of NATO countries to deploy troops to Ukraine could serve as a pretext for such actions.

What will the West do? The most optimal approach would be to respond to Russia with small steps, including moving towards what President Macron openly considers, which is strengthening Ukraine up to the point of deploying individual military personnel on its territory. However, these steps should be taken gradually, without making significant leaps that could provoke a nuclear response.

However, if NATO soldiers arrive in Ukraine, Russia may be able to launch a non-nuclear missile strike against them. But not on EU territory. At least not yet. However, Putin may be preparing (and this is already being discussed) a new stage of the war, namely opening a new front on the territory of a NATO member country. But that will be a different story, unrelated to Ukraine. For now, these are forecasts that are far from being realized.

If the Russians find a reason for war, that is, create a casus belli, then of course they will launch missiles at NATO territory.

And no one doubts that anymore. But in Europe, there are missile defense systems, anti-ballistic missile systems – some will shoot, others will defend. It's the same as in Ukraine. But Putin is currently being restrained, firstly, by the unresolved issue with Ukraine because all forces, means, and resources are deployed on the front in Ukraine. Because for opening a second front, Putin needs either additional reserves and winding down the high-intensity war in Ukraine.

Secondly, even without sufficient reserves, Putin can wait for a favorable political moment when the weakest blow to a sensitive spot in NATO at a critical moment could bring him victory. And victory will be considered not just the fact of occupying NATO member countries but demonstrating the Alliance's lack of an adequate response to Russian aggression.

If Putin seizes an opportune moment, such as during the US presidential elections or stoking internal conflicts within Poland, he could embark on an adventure. These moments may arise, and even without adequate reserves of forces and resources, he may seize the opportunity, as it may not come again. Then Putin could utilize whatever forces he had at that time. Moreover, there could be a new nuclear threat - first intervention, then threats of nuclear weapon use to avoid retaliation and paralyze the opponent. In essence, Putin may attempt to exploit NATO's vulnerabilities.

Source

About the author. Volodymyr Horbach is a political analyst at the Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, an expert on Ukraine's foreign and domestic policies.

The editorial board does not always endorse the views expressed by the blog authors.

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