NATO prepared for war with Russia

Russia has no reason to fear Ukraine’s joining NATO because the alliance is a purely “defence” structure, the bloc’s head, Stoltenberg, has said. However, even without admitting Kiev to its ranks, the alliance may deploy missiles in Ukraine near Russia’s borders

NATO prepared for war with Russia
Vladimir Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Club about the existing opportunities for this in the Ukrainian legislation. From where would Ukraine threaten Russia?

Russia should not be afraid of Ukraine joining NATO because it is a defence alliance. This statement was made on Friday by its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following a two-day meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels.

At the same time, the North Atlantic Alliance Secretary General ruled out for Moscow “the right to veto the decision of a sovereign state to join NATO,” TASS reported. Stoltenberg described Ukraine as a sovereign state. He also stressed that the alliance’s enlargement process had contributed to peace and stability in Europe in recent years.

In fact, Stoltenberg’s claims about the supposedly “defensive” nature of NATO’s aspirations were a response to Vladimir Putin’s recent statement. On Wednesday, the alliance approved a global defence plan. On the same day, the Russian president accused NATO leaders of breaking promises made to Russia not to expand the alliance’s military infrastructure eastwards. The Russian leader, speaking at a meeting of the Valdai Club, said that Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin’s trip to Kiev was effectively opening the door for Ukraine to join the Atlantic military bloc. Putin also pointed to a closer threat, which may materialise before Ukraine’s hypothetical admission into NATO. Alliance countries could deploy missiles on Ukrainian territory under the guise of training centres, the president said.

Putin explained – the Ukrainian constitution prohibits the deployment of foreign military bases on Ukrainian territory, “but no one prohibits training centres”, and under this guise “anything can be deployed”. “Tomorrow there will be missiles near Kharkiv, what should we do about it?” – the Russian leader wondered.

“NATO could deploy missiles, for example, at the Yavoriv military training ground, which is 30 kilometres northwest of Lviv. It is officially known as the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security of the Hetman Petro Sahaydachny National Academy of Land Forces,” military analyst, retired Colonel Mikhail Timoshenko told VZGLYAD. According to the expert, the Ukrainian “partners” of the alliance would not find it difficult to create a similar “training centre” closer to the Russian border – for example, in the same Kharkiv region. “Its location – only 30 kilometres from the Russian border – speaks in favour of placing missile weapons near Kharkiv,” the interlocutor pointed out.

If we talk about potential NATO bases already in place, we should mention the operational ship control center in Ochakov (Mykolayiv region, less than 200 km from the Crimean coast), noted military expert Alexei Leonkov. “The Ochakov centre was built with the participation of the US and the UK,” the interlocutor pointed out. The facility was being built by the 1st Mobile Construction Battalion of the US Atlantic Fleet, and a full-fledged US naval base could be deployed on its basis, experts believe.

“Near Odessa, in the port of Yuzhny, a semblance of a naval base will also be built – and also under the guise of a training centre,” Leonkov noted. Among the potential locations for basing of the NATO land armament the experts mention the 235th inter-unit training camp (Mykhailivka, Mykolayiv region) and the 241st combined arms training ground in the village of Alyoshki, Kherson region. Both facilities are also geographically close to Crimea.

Leonkov also mentioned a military facility near Mariupol, where, according to some reports, snipers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) are trained under NATO instructors. But Kiev seems to have more serious wishes. A year ago, Serhiy Kryvonos, deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), said in an interview with Channel 24:
“If, for example, in the same Mariupol there will be some small, simple base of the Americans and the British, the passage through the Kerch Strait … will not be problematic.”

It is obvious that the USA and its partners in the Atlantic bloc have the possibility of deploying a base on Ukrainian territory that is not “rudimentary”. Recall that NATO’s eastward expansion meant and does mean the appearance of military infrastructure near Russia’s borders, not of a defensive nature at all.

President Putin pointed out in the above-mentioned speech – US missile defence systems equipped with Aegis Ashore missile launchers are being deployed in Poland and Romania. And they can be equipped not only for defensive missiles but also for offensive weapons and Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometres.

“And it’s easy to do, in a snap, just change the software. No one will even notice”, –  Putin said.

It should be added that a number of Tomahawk modifications allow the missiles to be equipped with nuclear warheads. Thus, Stoltenberg’s assurances that NATO has no intentions to deploy “new ground-based missiles with nuclear warheads” in Europe are of rather low value.

NATO has prepared for war with Russia,” the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung noted after the meeting of the alliance’s defence ministers. Reuters was told by sources among US diplomats that the “defensive plan” defines NATO’s actions in case of a large-scale military conflict with Russia and includes the possibility of combat operations from the Baltic to the Black Sea region. The focus seems to be on the Black Sea theatre of war. The decision made at the meeting of the heads of defence ministries of the North Atlantic Alliance to study the possibility to transfer troops to the Black Sea region – “in response to aggressive actions of Russia” – can be considered an argument in favour of such an assumption.

“It should be understood that the NATO members see Ukraine as a state which, together with Moldova and Georgia, will play the role of subversive countries in the event of a global conflict between NATO and Russia. They have to “free passages in the minefields” at the cost of their own lives so that NATO countries can carry out an operation to destroy our echeloned defence system,” Leonkov said. – It is written in the alliance’s plans, not that they will be implemented, but the vector is clear.

Ukraine’s admission to NATO itself would mean the alliance is ready to start a war with Russia, Senator Aleksey Pushkov has said. But there is hope that Brussels understands – in this case Russia’s response will be proportional, one of the first targets will be the locations of NATO missile weapons on Ukrainian territory, military experts point out. “We will reach Kharkiv with any operational and tactical missile. The Yavoriv test site is further away, but we can reach it with cruise missiles,” assured retired Colonel Timoshenko.

According to the expert, one of the weapons that Russia could use to eliminate the alliance’s naval weapons could be the hypersonic anti-ship missile Zirkon, which can have a range of up to a thousand kilometres. “So far this missile exists in a naval version, but an aviation version should also appear,” Timoshenko recalled.

“There is a modern saying ‘Whoever does not want to talk to Sergey Lavrov, will talk to Sergey Shoygu,'” Leonkov noted. – We are ready for any kind of provocation from Ukraine, but these provocations will end very badly for them. The appearance of missile bases somewhere near Kharkiv will mean that Russia will prevent this threat, as the flight time for our weapons is quite short, no matter whether the missile is subsonic or supersonic.”

At the same time, Pushkov believes that the main threat from Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO is directed not towards Russia, but towards Brussels: “The fear of Ukraine’s inclusion in the alliance must first and foremost be felt by its members themselves. The reason is that Ukraine led by its current aggressively irresponsible government will do anything to drag NATO into an armed conflict with Russia, even against the will of some member states of the alliance. That is where the real threat to Europe and to NATO itself lurks.”

Andrei Rezchikov, Rostislav Zubkov, Mikhail Moshkin, VZGLYAD

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