Is Europe preparing for an escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict into a continental war in 2024?
The Bild, a German-language publication, recently disclosed “secret papers” that show the German war ministry, the Bundeswehr, is making such preparations (translated below into English):
The Bundeswehr is preparing for an armed conflict against Russia.
This emerges from a secret document. Accordingly, there could be a possible escalation between NATO and Russia as of February. It is a practice scenario that outlines step by step, month by month, how Russian dictator Vladimir Putin would act and how NATO should defend itself.
In this Bundeswehr scenario, the escalation begins in a few weeks. Tens of thousands of German soldiers would soon have to be deployed.
This is not the first report to indicate Germany is preparing for war against Russia. The Voice of Ukraine also aired German war plans against Russia in December:
Germany may have to wage a defensive war against Russia in the future, German televisions news program Tagesschau reported on Dec. 9, citing Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) Inspector General Carsten Breuer.
Breuer expressed concern about Russia’s rearmament and the behavior of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, saying there will be no return to the times before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Germany will have to get used to the idea “that one day we might have to fight a defensive war,” he said.
Germany is not the only European power that is reportedly mobilizing for a potential escalation of the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Sweden has recently issued warnings to its citizens to be prepared for a possible military conflict with Russia.
The Swedish warnings were reported by the aggregation site Knewz:
Speaking during Sweden’s Folk och Försvar’ (Society and Defense) conference in Sälen over the weekend, Civil Defense Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin urged citizens to join voluntary defense organizations to help the country prepare for a potential armed conflict, Knewz.com as learned.
“Who are you if war comes?” Bohlin asked, according to The Daily Mail.
“It is human to want to view life as you wish it was, rather than as it actually is,” Bohlin said. “For a nation for whom peace has been a pleasant companion for almost 210 years, the idea that it is an immovable constant is conveniently close at hand. But taking comfort in this conclusion has become more dangerous than it has been for a very long time.”
“There could be war in Sweden… The world is facing a security outlook with greater risks than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Are you a private individual? Have you considered whether you have time to join a voluntary defense organization? If not: get moving!” he added.
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has warned that if the nations do not band together, Russia would escalate the conflict.
“He (Russia President Vladimir Putin) won’t finish this (war), until we all finish him together,” Zelensky said during a news conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, adding that “Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova may be next” if Ukraine did not fight off Russia.
However, there is little military indication that Russia is interested in expanding its war beyond the scope of its captured territories of Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, which it had conquered early in July 2002.
The military maneuvering and countermeasures in the fallout of its invasion strongly suggest that Russia had carried out a ‘fait accompli‘ operation, which entails a lightning-fast invasion followed by a defensive war. Since Russia is a nuclear power, the costs to retaliators attempting to overturn the situation would be unacceptably high.
An editorial in The Hill in December succinctly summarizes the reality on the ground:
The war in Ukraine has reached a stalemate, with even Ukrainian officials admitting the highly anticipated counteroffensive is unlikely to reach a breakthrough, putting Kyiv on what could be its toughest path yet in the war.
Ukraine is fighting two battles: convincing a growing, skeptical West to continue arming Ukrainian troops despite an obvious stalemate across the 600-mile eastern front, and progressing through a battlefield against entrenched Russian forces.
After nearly two years of war, Ukraine is confronting enormous challenges while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy to hold as much territory as possible and wait for Western allies to crack appears to be working.
Zelensky has thanked the German people for their “solidarity,” and even accepted the International Charlemagne Prize for European unity in Aachen in 2023.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pronounced at the event that “Europe owes a lot to the Ukrainian people and personally to President Volodymyr Zelensky.”
“We stand together! We belong together! And our story will continue together,” Scholz added.
Thus, it appears to be concerning, and frankly, bewildering that European powers would be sounding the alarms about a “defensive war” in Europe. Either these nations are bluffing for diplomatic reasons or they know something about Russia’s designs they have not yet shared with the public.
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