Putin may confront NATO in 5 to 8 years, German defense minister says
Fears that the Russian president's deceptive threats against the military alliance might materialize are causing Europe to sound the alarm
According to Politico, which quotes German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, Russian leader Vladimir Putin may launch an assault on the NATO military alliance in less than ten years.
"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," Pistorius said.
A Russian attack is unlikely for now. However, he added: "Our experts expect a period of five to eight years in which this could be possible.”
Top European defense experts have warned of the possibility of a catastrophic conflict as a result of Russia's increased belligerent rhetoric towards certain of its neighbors, particularly Moldova, the NATO-member Baltic nations, and Poland, after the Kremlin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Admiral Rob Bauer, the head of NATO's military committee of national chiefs, declared that the alliance was facing the most dangerous world in decades and demanded that NATO undergo a warfighting transformation.
General Micael Bydén, the head of Sweden's military, made a similar appeal to his countrymen to prepare themselves mentally for war. And Sweden's Minister for Civil Defense Carl-Oskar Bohlin also warned that war could come to Sweden.
In an interview with Der Tagesspiegel, Pistorius stated that, given its closeness to Russia, Sweden faced an even more serious situation, and that the warnings from Sweden were understandable from a Scandinavian perspective. Additionally, it is not yet a member of NATO; it is awaiting approval from Hungary and Turkey to do so.
“But we also have to learn to live with danger again and prepare ourselves — militarily, socially and in terms of civil defense," Pistorius warned.
After Russia invades Ukraine in 2022, Poland is likewise concerned about Russia's unpredictable nature.
“Russia is defying logic. What happened in 2022 seemed impossible. We must be ready for any scenario," Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz said.
Intending to transform the Bundeswehr into a military capable of fighting, Germany revised its military and strategic doctrine late last year for the first time since 2011.
“War has returned to Europe. Germany and its allies once again have to deal with a military threat. The international order is under attack in Europe and around the globe. We are living in a turning point," said the first paragraph of the new doctrine.
One of the most vocal supporters of Ukraine in the EU, Gabrielius Landsbergis, the foreign minister of Lithuania and a vocal opponent of Putin, urged Europe to intensify its preparedness for future Russian aggression.
"There's a chance that Russia might not be contained in Ukraine. There is no scenario in this that if Ukraine doesn't win, that could end well for Europe," Landsbergis warned.