Russia is waging a “hybrid war” against the West and seeking ways to destabilize the situation in certain European states, and is more dangerous now than during the days of the USSR, NATO’s former secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned.
Rasmussen comments come as Russia has recently threatened to start a nuclear war against the United States and its allies if NATO moves more forces into the Baltic states or if attempts are made to return Crimea to Ukraine.
NATO’s ex-secretary general said in an interview with Newsweek that he believes Russia could use the same military tactics it is currently using in eastern Ukraine.
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“Russia has adopted this approach and it is a mix of very well-known conventional warfare and new, more sophisticated propaganda and disinformation campaigns including Russian efforts to influence public opinion through financial links with political parties within NATO and engagement in NGOs,” he said.
Rasmussen also expressed his concerns over Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s recent trip to Russia. “I think the Greeks are playing with fire. Russia can’t rescue Greece economically. Russia itself is broke. Greece can only be rescued by the West.”
Relations between Russia and the West have never been so intense since the Cold War due to Moscow’s military presence in eastern Ukraine and clear signs of Russia’s attempts to destabilize some European countries with its propaganda as well as the increasing incursions into their airspace.
Russia, with its constant reminders of the country’s nuclear capability, has forced the West to fear more than USSR did. “Even during the Soviet time they were hesitant to talk about nuclear conflict. Now we see an open debate. In that respect the Russia of today is more dangerous than the Soviet Union. The USSR was more predictable than the current leadership,” Rasmussen said.
The notes seen by The Times at the meeting between the US and Russia’s military and intelligence experts revealed that Vladimir Putin will consider any attempt from NATO’s side to return Crimea to Ukraine or to increase its presence in the Baltic states as declaration of war and threatened a “spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” to retain his control in the region.
Yet Another Round Of Concerns Over Russia. Seriously?
Rasmussen has also called for the West to strengthen its methods against Russia’s hybrid threats and not be “naive.” “We need more investment in cyber security, better-funded intelligence and more shared knowledge among allies, to give us better situational awareness to inform our use of special operations forces,” he said.
Rasmussen is not the only one expressing his concerns about Russia’s hybrid threats. Poland’s head of the National Security Bureau General Stanis?aw Koziej has recently stated that even though NATO will protect Poland in case of Russian aggression, Poland “cannot be that certain in the case of threats under the threshold of war – hidden aggression, diversion”.
Meanwhile, a Czech general, who in June becomes the head of NATO’s top military body, Military Committee, said the Alliance must reassure the world that it has what it takes to confront Russia.
Gen. Petr Pavel told The Associated Press that the Russians “are using very skillfully the informational and psychological warfare at home and abroad.”
“Russian leadership managed, maybe surprisingly, to significantly unite public opinion in an idea that everything bad that is happening to Russia is driven by the West, led by the United States and that Russia is again in the position that it has to defend itself,” he added.
He also urged NATO members to increase its spending on defense, conduct more military drills, as well as learn to confront Russia’s unconventional warfare, which it currently uses in eastern Ukraine.
Well, it sounds right. Although, don’t all these officials, which are soon to hold a high-ranking position, promise pretty things and then just… don’t fulfill them? It’s like they were born with this ‘talent’.
And yet another concerned NATO’s official. The Alliances’ top commander, US general Philip Breedlove expressed his concerns over the recent escalation of fighting in Ukraine and urged the Kremlin to stop “fueling conflict.”
“Concerned by renewed fighting in Ukraine. Vital all sides pull back verifiably, Russia stops fuelling conflict,” he wrote on Twitter.
I wonder what the Ukrainian Twitter users had to reply to him, seeing their country being clearly destroyed by the Kremlin through its well-trained soldiers in eastern Ukraine, propaganda and Vladimir Putin’s agents in the Ukrainian parliament.
The Baltics Are Beefing Up Amid Russia’s Nuclear War Threats
Poland is training its doctors, lawmakers, carpenters, engineers and others to be prepared in case of Russian invasion. The military training is said to strengthen the patriotic spirit and unite people.
Lithuania, the Baltic state and the Kremlin’s biggest obstacle in building a land bridge between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia, teaches its citizens how to defend their country in case the Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to advance further into Europe.
Latvia, another Baltic state, is planning to hire 250 more border guards over five year period. The Latvian state audit office said that such move will cost them 12 million euros. As of today, Latvia has 2,400 border guards in total. Additionally, the Latvian government is going to give university students military training next year.
Estonia, in turn, has beefed up its voluntary reserve force to 15,000 since the beginning of Russian-Ukrainian conflict.