NATO underestimates Kremlin’s ability to adapt — Lithuanian DM

NATO underestimated the Kremlin's ability to adapt
NATO underestimated the Kremlin's ability to adapt

NATO underestimated the Kremlin’s ability to adapt, maintain its war economy, mobilize and to continue to wage war against Ukraine, Lithuanian Defense Minister Laurynas Kasčiūnas said, local outlet LRT reported on May 4.

“Moscow, despite sanctions, put its economy on a military footing, given that under an authoritarian regime it does not have to worry much about social welfare of its society,”  minister said.

This mistake and underestimation, he said, arose because when trying to “understand the enemy, United States and Europe proceeded from fact that they used Western approach and criteria in assessing its strategy.”

“Lack of responsibility for its society, brutal disposal of its own mobilization potential,” which, according to official, can reach 25 million people, “makes Russia one of the most dangerous enemies that alliance will have to confront in near future.”

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In response to this and other threats, allies “have to change a lot in NATO's work,” Kasčiūnas said.

First, according to Lithuanian minister, “eastern flank” reached "stage of building a more flexible system of response and deterrence, which requires more powers to be allocated to alliance's regional forces.”

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Secondly, it is becoming clear, Lithuanian minister believes, that "increase in defense spending to 2% is only a lower limit, and it will be raised.”

Thirdly, NATO countries will have to seriously “modernize and strengthen their military-industrial complexes” and, fourthly, “start to consider Ukraine as an instrument of deterring aggression directed against Europe and West” and, therefore, as “an element of Euro-Atlantic security and unity” and, finally, “resolve issue of Ukraine's membership in NATO,” Lithuanian minister continued.

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Finally, he thinks that there is another point that “requires a collective political approach.” NATO should “stop looking at confrontation with Russia in paradigm of ‘escalation-de-escalation’.

“Since the Kremlin understands only force, we need to develop a system of active defense that would not allow Moscow to threat or to escalate conflict,” Kasčiūnas concluded.

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