Putin prepared the Russian army to use nuclear weapons against Baltic states, Western intelligence

Russia has said they are worried about “the danger of armed conflicts involving nuclear powers.

Russia is preparing for a future nuclear war with the West that could unfold sometime in the next ten years, according to a new report from the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service. This is what the report found and why it matters.

A growing number of government officials and political analysts have sounded the alarm over the threat Russia poses to Western countries, and Estonia has now joined those ranks with its 2024 International Security report, which was released on February 13th.

The report outlined several issues, like problems posed by China and international terrorism inside Europe, but it also focused heavily on Russia and the threat Moscow poses to the established rules-based international order.  

“Russia has chosen a path which is a long-term confrontation,” explained Kaupo Rosin, the Director General of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, to reporters following the release of the intelligence report according to Newsweek. 

Rosin went on to say that it was “highly unlikely” that the Kremlin would launch an attack against its Western neighbors in the short term but did urge NATO to stay prepared for a potential threat that it could face from Moscow. 

The Estonian intelligence chief also explained that “the Kremlin is probably anticipating a possible conflict with NATO within the next decade or so.” However, the Estonian report went into far more detail about what could be coming. 

Russia has seen a significant rise in its production capabilities, which includes its ability to build important military equipment like armored vehicles and artillery munition, which could eventually outpace Western production if the West doesn’t up its production.

Restructuring military command, such as the establishment of both the Leningrad and Moscow Military Districts in 2024 highlights the growing importance of Russia’s western border and its desire “to bolster Russia’s military posture towards Finland,” the report explained. 

Another important change has been the shift in corps-level command structure that has moved toward a four-level command system including district, army, corps, and division. The transition indicates a shift in Moscow’s thinking about the future. 

“With Shoigu’s military reform, army corps are formed within the regular army structure, indicating that the Russian leadership sees the need to return to a mass army concept to continue the conflict in Ukraine and prepare for a possible conflict with NATO,” the report read.

Russia has also planned to increase the size of its military personnel up from 1.1 million to 1.5 million by 2026, a move that the Estonian intelligence report noted revealed that the Kremlin was planning for a long conflict in Ukraine. 

In summary, Russia’s plan to increase its military forces is ambitious… However, it is also a source of threat for Estonia and NATO, contributing to Russia’s aggressive posture, military potential and growing militarisation reinforcing Russia’s apparent path of a long-term confrontation with the West,” the report concluded.

In the foreword to the Estonia report, Rosin wrote that NATO would face a Soviet-style army that would be technologically inferior to the military that could be brought to bear against it by the West, but it would still pose a threat due to its size.

The amount of manpower, firepower, and reserves that could be used in any future war with Russia would be enormous. But more worrying for Rosin is the fact that Russia is militarizing at every level of society to beat Ukraine and its allies. 

“Even though Russia’s blitzkrieg plans have failed, Vladimir Putin still believes that by continuing the conflict, he can force the opposing parties to come to the negotiating table,” Rosin explained, using the term “opposing parties” deliberately. 

“I refer to the opposing parties in plural because, in the Kremlin’s mindset, they are not only fighting Ukrainians, but their chosen path involves a long-term confrontation with the entire ‘collective West,’” Rosin wrote.

On the same day the Estonian intelligence report was released, Russia listed Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, state Secretary Taimar Peterkop, and Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys on the country’s wanted list for their roles in removing Soviet monuments to soldiers in their countries according to The Guardian. 

“This is only the start,” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel. “Crimes against the memory of the world’s liberators from nazism and fascism must be prosecuted.”

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