A senior NATO official said the alliance is ready for a scenario of direct confrontation with Russia if Moscow crosses a “red line”.
In an interview with Portuguese media on January 28, Admiral Rob Bauer, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, recalled that during a summit last year in Madrid, the alliance decided to create four more working groups. multinational war in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. He said the move was in response to Russia’s opening of a special military operation in Ukraine.
“This is an important signal to Russia that we are ready if they decide to confront NATO. That is a red line and if there is a red line it is for Russian forces to cross the border of the member states. NATO member,” Bauer said.
He said that NATO countries should direct civilian industrial production to serve the needs of the military and support the idea of a “war economy”.
Assessing the risk of escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Bauer said: “If Russia stops the conflict today, there will not be any risk of escalation.”
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has entered its 12th month and continues to escalate. Both sides are said to be preparing for a large-scale attack or counterattack this spring, possibly in late February or March.
According to observers, Russia is increasing offensive pressure to gain control of Bakhmut, a strategic city in eastern Ukraine before Kyiv receives the first batch of tanks from the West. If it wins Bakhmut, Russia will have more advantages to fully control the Donbas region.
Although Russia and Ukraine have focused on Bakhmut for many months, turning this place into the fiercest and bloodiest front, Western military circles have warned Ukraine to change tactics, giving priority to targets in the South.
They believe that Bakhmut currently has little strategic significance, while focusing on counter-attacks in the South can cut off Russia’s supply routes, isolating the regions that Russia claims to annex. Moreover, shifting priority to the Southern front will take advantage of the new military equipment worth billions of dollars that the West has recently pledged to aid.
In the past week, a series of Western countries have pledged to provide heavy battle tanks to Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ambassador to France Vadym Omelchenko said that allies and partners have committed to deliver 321 tanks. However, Kyiv will have to wait at least a few more weeks to receive the first tanks.
Western heavy tanks are expected to help Ukraine strengthen its defenses against the new Russian offensive plan, while also allowing Kyiv to counterattack.
Moscow accuses this aid plan as further evidence that NATO is increasingly directly intervening in the Ukraine conflict.