Putin ordered his army to prepare for war with the Baltic states

Russia just entered the third year of its war against Ukraine and things are not the same as they were when Vladimir Putin ordered his invasion. Moscow is getting stronger as it prepares for a future war against the West.

Warnings about Russian preparations for a much bigger war have been coming from all over the intelligence sphere from a range of officials warning that Russia is preparing for a conflict with the West that could erupt soon. 

For example, in January 2024, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius warned Russia could attack Europe within five to eight years according to Politico. However, that hasn’t been the most worrying recent warning. 

In February, the Director General of Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Kaupo Rosin warned in a report that Russia was rebuilding its military in anticipation of a much wider conflict against NATO within the next decade. 

“Russia has chosen a path which is a long-term confrontation,” Rosin told journalists at a press conference Reuters reported. “If we are not prepared, the likelihood of a military Russian attack would be much higher than without any preparation.”

According to Foreign Policy’s Amy Makinnon, there are signs that the Kremlin has been getting ready for a wider war. Near the end of 2022, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced an increase in Russian military numbers.

The Russian Armed Forces would increase by thirty percent from one million personnel to one and a half million by 2026, and following Finland’s assertion to NATO Russia, the Kremlin doubled its troop strength on the border.

However, the more concerning sign of how the Kremlin is planning for the future can be seen in the amount of money being dedicated to its armed forces, an issue the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believes suggests Russia is getting ready for war. 

“Several Russian financial, economic, and military indicators suggest that Russia is preparing for a large-scale conventional conflict with NATO,” the Washington-based think tank wrote in its March 20th update on the war in Ukraine. 

NATO’s future conflict with Russia isn’t likely to kick off immediately, ISW analysts wrote, but they do believe the coming war could begin far sooner than other Western analysts have predicted. However, the report did not give its own timeline. 

ISW analysts pointed to a March 19th meeting that Putin had with the Russian Duma as proof that his stated policies to stabilize the country’s economy and domestic issues during his fifth term in office as indicators that Russia is preparing for a larger war. 

“Putin’s attempts to set conditions to stabilize Russia’s economy and finances are most likely part of Russian financial and domestic preparations for a potential future large-scale conflict with NATO and not just for a protracted war in Ukraine,” the report claimed. 

Foreign policy reported that one-third of all government spending in Russia in 2024 is going to its defense sector and added the country’s arms manufacturers have been urged to “work around the clock.”

Whether or not the signs coming out of Russia suggest that Moscow is gearing up for a bigger war is not entirely clear, but they have been enough to worry important officials about the dangers that the world could soon face. 

On March 29th, Polish President Andrzej Duda said during an interview with CNBC that NATO needed to increase its defense spending and called on all member states to up their contributions to 3% in order to be prepared for the future. 

“The alarm bells are ringing,” Duda explained. He also pointed to unspecified research from Germany that suggested Putin’s shift to a war economy was part of a possible plan to attack NATO in 2026 or 2027. 

“We have two or three years in which we can increase our efforts, stockpile ammunition and produce weapons to maximize European security, get ready and make sure the invasion does not happen,” the Polish president said.

“All this needs to be done in order not to have to get involved in a fight. The point is to create such a deterrent that ensures we are not attacked. This is the whole point because none of us want war,” Duda added.

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