The German Defense Ministry is contemplating a hypothetical situation in which Russia targets NATO’s eastern flank in 2025, according to a classified Bundeswehr document obtained by German newspaper Bild.
The document outlines a potential “Path to Conflict" between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance.
Detailing a sequence of events month by month, the document foresees a culmination in the summer of 2025, characterized by the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of alliance soldiers and an alleged “imminent outbreak of war.”
However, specific data on the number and movements of NATO troops are withheld for security reasons.
The Bundeswehr’s "Defense of the Alliance 2025” scenario commences in February 2024, projecting Russia’s conscription of an additional 200,000 soldiers into its army.
This is followed by a spring offensive in Ukraine, with the Ukrainian army expected to be “pushed back until June.”
According to the classified document, in July 2024, following a successful offensive in Ukraine, Russia is anticipated to launch a series of cyber attacks and “other forms of hybrid warfare,” primarily targeting the Baltic states.
Clashes may ensue, leading to large-scale exercises with Belarus. Tensions could escalate in October if Russia relocates troops and medium-range missiles to Kaliningrad, the document suggests.
December 2024 sees an artificially provoked “border conflict” in the crucial Suwalki Gap, which will lead to massive riots and casualties.
The Suwalki Gap, approximately 100 km long, is an isthmus between the territories of Belarus and the Kaliningrad exclave of Russia. It runs along the border of Poland and Lithuania, separating the Baltic states from the rest of NATO.
Following these developments, the document envisions Russia accusing the West of preparing an attack during an extraordinary UN Security Council meeting.
In May 2025, according to the Bundeswehr scenario, NATO is expected to deliberate on “reliable deterrence measures.”
The document, however, doesn’t disclose whether these measures will effectively deter Russia, leaving the potential outcomes obscure.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian officials and propagandists have been recently intensifying their rhetoric, accusing the West of preparing for conflict in the Arctic.
Putin calls the West an “enemy,” and the reform of the Leningrad Military District might indicate that Moscow is preparing to “counter threats” from NATO.
At the same time, in July, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow was not seeking a direct confrontation with the NATO bloc but remained prepared for any conceivable scenario.
In November 2023, Christian Melling and Torben Schütz, authors of an analytical study conducted by the German Foreign Policy Society (DGAP), assessed the purported threat of a Russian assault on NATO.
Referring to insights from experts and intelligence services, they said that, based on the aftermath of war in Ukraine, Russia would require 6 to 10 years before even considering a confrontation with NATO.
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