On Sunday 14 January 2024 the German tabloid BILD published classified military information, revealing that German armed forces are preparing for a potential war with Russia.
The papers hypothesise that Russian president Vladimir Putin could attack NATO ally countries next year, to expand his country’s war in Ukraine. For this attack, the documents lay out different scenarios that could lead to war between Russia and the military alliance NATO, of which Germany is a member of. A potential path to conflict would be the mobilisation of Putin’s forces in February 2024 and the launch of a spring offensive that gains a significant amount of Ukrainian territory.
The documents also suggested that the Bundeswehr, the German military arm, were prepared for a direct military confrontation with Russia.
The scenario above forecasts that by July this year Russia would begin conducting cyberattacks in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Putin would then simultaneously seek to incite violence among ethnic minorities in the Baltic, under the pretence that they are being targeted.
These clashes could then be used to deploy 50,000 troops to Belarus and western Russia by September, the document says. This would be followed by the movement of troops and medium-range missiles to the enclave of Kaliningrad, which lies between Poland and Lithuania.
In December, the document predicts a “border conflict” as well as riots in the Suwalki Corridor between Belarus and Kaliningrad.
Moscow would then seek to exploit the chaos of the aftermath of the US election by launching an attack on Nato territory in January 2025 and rallying troops to Belarus and the Baltics by March 2025, the papers suggest.
In a special UN Security Council meeting, Russia would most likely accuse the West of preparing an attack against Russia.
In this scenario, 30,000 German troops would be deployed for defence, while an estimated 70,000 Russian forces would have gathered in Belarus, according to the documents.
By May 2025, this military build-up could force NATO to enact “measures for credible deterrence” against further Russian incursion—resulting in a breakout of fighting between Western troops and Russian forces.
The documents outline a dark future amid heightened tensions and political turmoil globally.
In response to the leak of these documents, the German Defense Ministry responded: “Considering different scenarios, even if they are extremely unlikely, are part of everyday military business, especially in training.”