It is the war scenario that NATO has been bracing for. Recently, a report released by the Atlantic Council warns that Russia can launch an attack “overnight” and overwhelm NATO allies easily.
It cannot be determined what would trigger Russian action as aggressive, but the Atlantic Council believes that Russia may make swift actions when NATO and Europe are distracted with another crisis. It is also possible that Russia would launch an attack while a high-profile event is taking place.
Whenever it chooses to strike, the council warns that Russia can act fast as it only needs to follow plans it has already put into place. “Even if Moscow currently has no immediate intent to challenge NATO directly, this may unexpectedly change overnight and can be implemented with great speed, following already prepared plans,” the study warns.
At the same time, the Atlantic Council said that the world can expect Moscow to “artificially generate” a narrative to justify its actions with. This can include the need to defend “the oppressed Russian-speaking population” or “access to Kalingrad.” At the same time, Moscow can also claim that it is “pre-empting a NATO military attack.”
Should Russia make a surprise attack in the Baltic region, the council noted that there will be major devastation to eastern Poland. Earlier this year, the U.S. announced the ground breaking for two Aegis Ashore site in Poland and Romania as part of a collective defense system for the NATO alliance.
At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also recently confirmed that four multinational battalions will be deployed to the Baltic States, including troops from the U.S., UK, Germany and Canada.
According to the Atlantic Council, Russia can only be stopped through a “convincing show of strength, cohesion, and solidarity of NATO.”