Polish intelligence chief warns Putin prepares for ‘mini-operation’ in NATO territory, awaits Western response

Putin
Putin

The timing of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO is uncertain, Poland's intelligence chief, Jaroslaw Struzyk, cautioned in an interview with Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, hinting at Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s readiness for a potential small-scale operation against a Baltic state.

All forecasts of analytical centers, which do not have complete information, are based only on certain assumptions, he noted.

"Putin, of course, is already ready for some kind of mini-operation against one of the Baltic countries, for example, to enter the famous Narva (the largest predominantly Russian-speaking city in Estonia, 88% of the population of which is Russian - ed.) or to land on one of the Swedish islands," he said.

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"This is a question of Putin's intentions, but what the West is doing together, supporting Ukraine, shows him that in the event of an attack on NATO, the reaction of the West will be even greater," according to Struzhyk.

European concerns over potential Russian aggression

The possibility of Russia attacking Europe by late 2024 or early 2025 has been highlighted by the German publication Bild, citing intelligence sources. This concern arises from a predicted leadership vacuum in the United States during that period, potentially delaying American aid to European allies.

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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.

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.

At the same time, German intelligence says that Russia is preparing for a large-scale conflict with NATO and could attack at least part of the Alliance's territory as early as 2026.

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In the event of an attack by Russia, Estonia would be able to repel its attack and win the war, the head of the Estonian Defense Forces, General Martin Herem, said on April 18.

NATO planners consider a direct Russian invasion of NATO member states unlikely in the near future, the WSJ wrote on April 30.

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