NATO should be prepared for the prospect of Russian missile strikes in Europe in the event of an all-out war with Russia, said Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, a commander of NATO's military logistics center in Germany, in an interview with The Times published on Jan. 28.
NATO militaries have strengthened their capacity and preparedness since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. While the prospect of the war escalating to an all-out clash between the alliance and Russia has so far been averted, there are concerns that the West has not truly accepted that it may still be a possibility.
Several NATO commanders and other alliance leaders have warned in increasingly stark terms in recent months about the dangers of such a war and what impact it could have across Europe.
Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer, the chair of the NATO Military Committee, said earlier in January that NATO countries should be prepared for the possibility of an all-out war with Russia in the next 20 years.
Sollfrank and other NATO generals cautioned that a direct military confrontation with Russia could occur as soon as within the next three years.
In such a conflict, Germany would likely be targeted as the central "turntable" of NATO's logistics in central Europe, they said.
Sollfrank said that NATO already has the capacity to defend and likely deter a potential Russian invasion. But given the current array of NATO forces across the continent and lack of preparation behind the eastern flank, NATO armies could be forced to make "costly choices."
"We have been very focused on the east," said Brigadier General Frank Schmitz.
"I think we also need capacity to the rear: all kinds of capacity."
There are still some issues, such as problems with the interchangeability of NATO equipment and personnel, that could hinder an appropriate response, Sollfrank said.
"I think we can … get this started and reduce or adapt the red tape or wherever it might be possible and necessary," Sollfrank added.