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Putin prepares for potential Nato conflict sooner than anticipated: Report

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NEW DELHI: According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), there are increasing indications that Russian President Vladimir Putin is gearing up for a possible conflict with Nato earlier than many analysts have anticipated. The ISW’s recent assessment highlights a series of Russian economic, financial, and military signals suggesting a preparation for a substantial conventional war with Nato, although not immediately, but sooner than previously thought.
The think tank has pointed out that Russia’s actions, including the reintroduction of the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts and a military decree from Putin, show a preparation trend for a potential clash with the alliance.Newsweek has sought comments from the Kremlin regarding these observations.
Tensions have been escalating between Russia and Nato since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with Nato countries supporting Ukraine with financial aid and military resources. Russian rhetoric has also intensified, with state media and officials hinting at the possibility of direct conflict with Nato and even suggesting attacks on Western soil.
Putin, after claiming victory in Russia’s recent presidential election, did not dismiss the possibility of war with the West, saying, “everything is possible in the modern world,” but warned of the proximity to a global conflict, implying a World War III scenario would interest no one.
Furthermore, the ISW notes Putin’s domestic actions, such as meetings with Russian State Duma leaders to discuss economic and social program development, as preparations for sustaining Russia’s long-term financial stability amid heightened government spending, which could be associated with gearing up for a larger-scale conflict, not merely the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
The think tank also observed structural adjustments within the Russian military aimed at maintaining the conflict in Ukraine while enhancing capabilities for a potential comprehensive war with Nato. This includes significant personnel changes in the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Alarming assessments from Nato countries’ officials, including Polish President Andrzej Duda and Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen, point to a possible imminent Russian attack on a Nato member, with timelines suggesting a potential conflict as early as 2026 or 2027, deviating from previous Nato forecasts.

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