Germany preparing for 'armed conflict against Russia' - report

  • 16/01/2024

German forces are preparing a wide range of operational plans in the event of an attack on NATO by Russia, a new report suggests.

In the report, citing a "secret document" from Germany's defence ministry, local newspaper Bild said forces in their tens of thousands would be deployed based on the scenario of the Ukraine war escalating into a NATO "armed conflict against Russia". 

Russia would carry out a large-scale offensive against Ukraine in the European spring of this year after mobilising an additional 200,000 troops, according to the scenario outlined in the document. 

President Vladimir Putin, after making successful progress in Ukraine, would then cause security issues in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by claiming minority Russians were being persecuted.  

Then, citing the document titled Alliance Defence 2025, Bild said Russia would respond by sending 50,000 soldiers to Belarus for an extensive exercise.  

The newspaper reported Putin would then move missiles to Kaliningrad - a Russian territory located between Lithuania and Poland. Russia would go on to attack the Suwalki Gap, a thinly populated area of Poland between Kaliningrad and Belarus that connects NATO to the Baltics. 

NATO would meet in January 2025 to discuss the threat Russia was posing, the document reportedly said. 

The escalation would then see Putin ordering more troops into Belarus by March, followed by NATO deploying 300,000 soldiers to defend Germany's eastern flank. 

"Much has been written, some of it in the public domain, about a scenario of Russian aggression against one or more of our Baltic state Allies," Edward Christie, a senior research fellow from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, said of the report. 

"However, leaking this now (if that's what occurred) is interesting. Perhaps a way of shaking up a lethargic political leadership. 

"Perhaps also a way of making the public understand what the future may be like. And... perhaps a signal to Moscow that Berlin is not asleep at the wheel," Christie wrote on X. 

Meanwhile, a German defence ministry spokesperson told Bild "considering different scenarios, even if they are extremely unlikely, is part of everyday military business, especially in training" - although they would not comment directly on the so-called leaked document. 

The report comes as UK Defence Minister Grant Shapps on Monday outlined steps to better protect Britain against threats from "irrational" powers. 

"In five years' time, we could be looking at multiple theatres including Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea," he said in a speech. "Ask yourself... is it more likely that that number grows or reduces? I suspect we all know the answer."