The bloc nonetheless needs a Cold War-style deterrence against Moscow, defense minister Boris Pistorius has said
There’s currently no threat of Russia attacking NATO or any of the partners of the US-led military bloc, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has suggested.
Moscow’s military is now fully occupied with the Ukraine conflict, Pistorius explained, in an interview with the tabloid Bild on Friday.
”At the moment, I don’t see any danger of a Russian attack on NATO territory or on any NATO partner-country,” he added.
However, the minister stressed that this is just a “snapshot” of the current situation and there’s no way of knowing how things would turn out in the future.
Pistorius warned against underestimating the alleged risks related to Russia, saying that NATO needs to rely on “the principle of deterrence, as we know it from the times of the Cold War.” During that time, things between the West and Moscow were “much more predictable than the situation we have today,” he argued.
”We are coming out of 30 years of peace… from which we have all benefited. And now the journey is going the other way,” the minister said. NATO and Germany must “really pick up the pace” in order to be able to face the emerging challenges, he stressed.
Germany has given to Ukraine “a lot of systems” that Berlin needed for itself since the outbreak in February 2022 of fighting between Moscow and Kiev, but “we will get them again,” Pistorius vowed.
Earlier this week, commenting on the possibility of a direct conflict between NATO and Russia, the bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “we don’t see any direct or imminent threat against any NATO ally.” He stressed, however, that NATO “closely monitors what Russia does” and has increased its “vigilance and presence in the eastern part of the alliance” in order to be able to counter any moves by Moscow.
Pistorius told ZDF on Monday that Germany should be ready to respond to a possible Russian attack. In order to be able to resist an aggression “that you don’t know if and when it will occur, then that means you have to arm yourself – and that’s what we’re currently doing together with allies in NATO,” he explained.
On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed Pistorius’ speculation about a possible conflict between Russia and NATO, saying that, due to internal problems the EU faces, its politicians “now need to somehow pump up public opinion, artificially agitate it, by inventing an external enemy.”
Speaking at UN headquarters in New York the following day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that “no one wants a big war,” especially Moscow. “We have lived through ‘big wars’ many times in our history,” he added.
President Vladimir Putin last month rejected as “complete nonsense” claims that Russia could attack NATO. Moscow has “no geopolitical, economic… or military interest” in doing so, he pointed out. Russia is, on the contrary, interested in developing ties with the bloc, he said.