Deteriorating ties between Russia and the West over the last 18 months could lead to a potential military confrontation between the Kremlin and NATO, the European Leadership Network (ELN), a London-based think tank, said in a report Wednesday. Citing two major military exercises conducted this year, the think tank warned that recent developments by both sides make a real conflict more likely.
According to ELN, Russia conducted a massive “snap exercise” in March, involving as many as 80,000 military personnel. NATO also held its Allied Shield drills in June, involving 5,000 personnel from 19 member states and three partner states. ELN said that Russia and NATO have significantly increased scope and size of their military exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area since conflict in eastern Ukraine began.
“Both exercises show that each side is training with the other side’s capabilities and most likely war plans in mind,” ELN said in the report. “Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia.”