Kaja Kallas to Europe: Prepare now for Russian military advances

Kaja Kallas
Kaja Kallas

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas urged Europe to get ready for war at the European Defence and Security Summit 2024 on April 17.

"Europe is facing a critical moment that will shape our security and future for decades," she said.

"We need to keep in mind that we have much to defend and a very real threat to defend against. With the right resolve and unified effort, I believe we can succeed."

The Russian forces are currently numerically stronger than they were two years ago, and Russia's military-industrial complex is mobilized, with Russia producing considerably more equipment and ammunition in every category than the Euro-Atlantic community combined, Kallas said.

Read also: Putin warns of World War III in case of Russia-NATO conflict

Russian military posture at the eastern flank of NATO will likely multiply. The Russian Armed Forces reform is ongoing and new units are being formed by NATO's borders despite the heavy fighting and losses in Ukraine, she said.

"I also recall another Thursday over two years ago — an early February morning when Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine," Kallas said.

"It starkly reminded us that freedom is not for given – you have to fight for it. It is our duty as leaders to make sure that for no future generation freedom will one day just be some memory of a distant past."

Read also: Russia can start ground invasion of NATO countries without using nuclear weapons – Zelenskyy

Such an advantage for the Russians is an "unreasonable parameter" for any negotiations with Russia, as its "credit score of honoring its commitments is close to zero," she said.

"Let us not be fooled – Russia’s long-term interest is still very opposite of peace," Kallas said.

There are various estimates of how soon Russia will reconstitute and be in a position to attack again, she said.

"The number – three, five, or ten years, does not matter," Kallas said.

"Everyone agrees that they will be ready and willing for a next war. All they will be looking for is an opportunity – which we must deny them."

"Russia is holding every single person in Ukraine at gunpoint – every day and every night. This could be Europe’s fate all the same. Or it could not, if we choose to act and avoid it."

To counter potential Russian aggression, Kallas urged European nations to increase defense spending, improve military capabilities, ensure large stocks of ammunition, protect supply chains through transatlantic collaboration, and boost the pool of technologically skilled workers.

NATO-Russia possible conflict

Russia may attempt to attack Europe by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025, when the United States will be “leaderless,” and may only come to the aid of European states after some delay, German publication Bild, citing its own intelligence sources, reported.

The civilian population in the West should prepare for a “total war” with Russia, NATO’s Military Committee chair, Admiral Rob Bauer, said.

Europe is once again “facing a military threat that has not been seen in 30 years,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said, as he warned of the possibility of a Russian attack within five to eight years.

Read also: Baltic States will win if Russia attacks them, but will be destroyed, FM Kuleba warns

The possibility that Russia could start a war against NATO next year is extremely low, Lithuania’s Commander-in-Chief, Valdemaras Rupšys, said at the same time.

Russia does not want a direct military conflict with the United States and NATO and will continue asymmetric activities which, according to its estimates, will not cross the threshold of a military conflict on a global scale, American intelligence reported in March.

The European Union, NATO, and Spain are not preparing for war, despite the growing threat from Russia, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said on March 26.

The Alliance is ready for a potential conflict with Russia, NATO's military committee head, Rob Bauer, commented at the same time.

"Less talk, more action" is the message from Finnish President Alexander Stubb, as he advocated for NATO countries to prepare their armies for a potential conflict, the Financial Times reported on April 11.

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