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NATO has 2-3 years to prepare for reconstituted Russian army, top Norwegian general says

by Nate Ostiller June 4, 2024 9:21 AM 2 min read
General Eirik Kristoffersen, the head of the Norwegian Armed Forces at a press conference in Oslo, Norway, on Sept. 16, 2023. (Photo by Lise Aserud/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)
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NATO has only two to three years to prepare before Russia has regained its ability to launch a conventional attack on the alliance, Bloomberg reported on June 3, citing General Eirik Kristoffersen, Norway's top general.

Kristoffersen's comments were the latest in a series of increasingly dire warnings from Western leaders and defense officials about the threat emanating from Russia and Europe's current lack of preparedness.

"At one point someone said it'll take 10 years (before Russia reconstitutes its offensive capacity), but I think we're back to less than 10 years because of the industrial base that is now running in Russia," Kristoffersen said.

"It will take some time, which gives us a window now for the next two to three years to rebuild our forces, to rebuild our stocks at the same times as we are supporting Ukraine."

Unlike its Nordic neighbors Sweden and Finland, Norway has been a member of NATO since the founding of the alliance in 1949.

Norway has increased its defense spending since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine and aims to meet the 2% of GDP threshold in 2024, with a further increase of 2.7% of GDP targeted by 2030.

"I see a window now where we can meet the requirements that NATO has agreed on, new command structure, new force structures, the new regional plans," Kristoffersen said.

"So we can fulfill those plans and those decisions with content in the next years but we need to speed up. We need to do it in two to three years to make sure that we are ready for whatever might happen."

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), which tracks international aid for Ukraine, Norway has committed more than $2 billion to Ukraine as of February 2024.

Norway and Ukraine also signed a bilateral security agreement in May, which included a pledge to provide Ukraine with at least $1.3 billion in military aid in 2024.

Stoltenberg: West must be prepared for ‘decades-long confrontation’ with Russia
“If (Russian President Vladimir) Putin wins in Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Russian aggression will not spread to other countries,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned.

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