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Prepare for decades-long conflict with Russia, German minister warns

In Europe
February 17, 2024

Germany’s defence minister warned that European countries and the NATO alliance must prepare for a decades-long conflict with Russia, in a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Efforts to include Russia in a broader European security architecture after the Cold War failed, Boris Pistorius told the audience in Munich.

“All these attempts ran counter to the Kremlin’s strategy of reinstalling its dominance in Eastern and Central Europe.”

Western allies will stand firmly behind Ukraine “no matter how long [Russian President Vladimir] Putin continues this illegal and senseless war against a sovereign, freedom-loving nation,” Pistorius declared.

“[But that also means that] we will have to live with dividing lines in Europe for decades to come,” Pistorius said. “Free and democratic Europe on one side, authoritarian and warmongering Russia on the other.”

The key to the conflict, Pistorius said, was re-establishing NATO’s military power in Europe to counter the Russian threat.

“Effective deterrence is our life insurance,” Pistorius said.

He argued that there are three dimensions of establishing effective deterrence: The alliance must invest more money in defence, rebuild the industrial capacity to produce munitions and prepare military forces to deploy and fight when necessary.

Pistorius also said closer cooperation with southern hemisphere countries and greater respect for those countries are needed to counter Russian global influence. That includes agreeing to armaments export contracts, he said.

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