Brussels (Brussels Morning) NATO defence ministers today discussed a new master plan for deterring potential Russian attacks along eastern European borders, preparing for assaults in multiple possible theatres of war.
The new master plan, which remains confidential, reportedly includes a strategy for dealing with simultaneous attacks in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, with contingencies included for assaults with nuclear weapons, cyber-attacks and space-borne threats.
While NATO officials stress that they do not believe a Russian attack is imminent, they note that any successful deterrence of potential attacks requires a comprehensive strategy, especially in view of Moscow developing advanced weapons systems, and amassing troops close to the borders of NATO countries and their allies.
Germany’s Defence Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, speaking on German radio, explained that “this is the way of deterrence”. Kramp-Karrenbauer also noted that the master plan is being adapted to take account of Russia’s current behaviour. “We are seeing violations particularly of the airspace over the Baltic states, but also increasing incursions over the Black Sea”, she said.
Moscow insists that it has no aggressive intentions, claiming that it is Russia that has been threatened by recent deployments of NATO troops to Poland and Romania, as well as plans for building missile defence systems in those countries.
NATO-Russian relations are at an all-time low, Moscow having withdrawn its diplomats from the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, and having ordered NATO diplomats stationed in Russia to leave the country.
While the growing threat and influence of China is a rising concern for NATO, the new master plan reaffirmed the alliance’s core focus on Russia as its main threat. Former NATO official Jamie Shea, now with the Brussels-based Friends of Europe think-tank, told Reuters that the plan comes at a time when major allies are seeking to boost their presence in the Indo-Pacific region.