Tri-Service

Experts Warn Both NATO & Putin Are 'Actively Preparing For War'

NATO has defended the pace and scale of its military exercises in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, after the alliance was criticised by by...

NATO has defended the pace and scale of its military exercises in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, after the alliance was criticised by by a leading think-tank.
 
A new report from the European Leadership Network argues that supposedly defensive military exercises by Russia and NATO are actually leading the two sides closer to war.
 
 
Amid the greatest build-up of military tension since the end of the Cold War, they say Russia and NATO are drawing ever closer to conflict.
 
The think-tank’s policy brief analysed major military exercises this year and found that “each side is training with the other side’s capabilities and most likely war plans in mind … Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia.”
 

“Each side is training with the other side’s capabilities and most likely war plans in mind … Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia.”

The report warned of NATO's shortcomings, saying that the organisation was "unable to match" the scale of Russian drills.

A Russian exercise in March involved 80,000 personnel, while NATO's Allied Shield in June mobilised 15,000 people from 19 NATO countries and three partner states. 
 
Exercise Steadfast Jazz was NATO's largest war game in years.
 
The report states: 'Whilst spokespeople may maintain that these operations are targeted against only hypothetical opponents, the nature and scale of the operations indicate otherwise.' 
 
Russian exercises included defending the main headquarters of the Northern Fleet in Murmansk from saboteurs, and more than 30 interceptions of enemy aircraft over the Barents Sea.
 
The war games began in the High North but quickly spread across the entire country, leading ELN to conclude “the scale of this exercise means it could only have been a scenario simulating a war with the United States and/or NATO.”
 
 
NATO meanwhile focused on armoured manoeuvres, close air support and using special forces to counter “subversion activities” in a hypothetical attack on one of its eastern members.