Norway intelligence claims Russia preparing to challenge NATO militarily

Leaked scenarios suggest a Russian hybrid attack on alliance members in Eastern Europe.

After warnings from the Baltic nations, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, now Norway calls for Europe to embrace the idea of a Russia-NATO war.

The threat assessment from the Norwegian Defense Intelligence Service follows a recent article in the German tabloid Bild, which claims having classified information from the Defense Ministry in Berlin that the German armed forces were gearing up for a hybrid Russian attack in Eastern Europe. 

The Norwegians think that the threat from Russia “is not limited to former Soviet states” or countries with inferior military capabilities, and that the Kremlin will "very likely" use military force to "challenge NATO countries" militarily.

Credit: New York Post

The Norwegian defense minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, who reached a similar conclusion earlier, called for faster efforts to upgrade the armed forces and prepare for Russian provocations,

According to Bild, which cites Denmark’s intelligence agency, one of the scenarios Vladimir Putin could employ would start this February with the mobilization of an additional 200,000 soldiers.

Also, the Kremlin is preparing to launch a massive offensive against Ukrainian armed forces next spring.

Under the alleged plan, Russia could start a hybrid war in the Baltics by July after a storm of cyberattacks and carefully orchestrated protests among Russian nationals in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. And in September, under the excuse of protecting its minorities in those countries, it could unleash a large-scale drill (coded Zapad-2024) in order to position around 50,000 soliders at the border with the Baltics.

The open attack with ground troops from Belarus and Russia would be synchronized with a missile firing from the Kaliningrad enclave.

More to read:
Five security scenarios on Russian war in Ukraine for 2024-2025

The military activity would be also supported with a strong propaganda war to accuse the West of plotting to remove Vladimir Putin from power, which he is certain to retain after the March 2024 presidential election.

While these scenarios are scaring enough, none of it explains how could Russia mobilize sufficient manpower and weapons at a time it is unable to break through Ukrainian defense lines. Not to mention that it needs to carry out a blitzkrieg in order to gain tactical advantage and taking the West by surprise under these circumstances is out of question.

In Ukraine, for one example, the Russians have lost at least 2,600 main battle tanks in two years, or 90% of the entire arsenal.

However, the word "war" appeares more often in the expression "World War III."

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