Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, has said that the Alliance is ready for a direct confrontation with Russia.
Source: Bauer in an interview with RTP, a Portuguese public broadcasting organisation
Quote from RTP: "Rob Bauer insists that NATO is prepared for a direct confrontation with Russia and admits that rearmament is the Alliance’s top priority. He also acknowledges that the organisation has lost its monopoly on military initiative."
Details: Bauer recalled that during the NATO summit in Madrid last year the Alliance decided to establish four additional multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
"This is an important signal for Russia… That we are prepared if they decide to go after NATO. This is a red line. If there is a red line, then it is the Russians crossing our borders," the Chair of the NATO Military Committee said.
Bauer said that NATO countries ought to gear civilian industrial production to the needs of the military and expressed his support for the idea of a "war economy in peacetime".
He added that he believes that Russia’s strategic objectives go beyond Ukraine, with Moscow wanting to claim the territory of the former Soviet Union.
When asked whether NATO feared escalation in the Russian-Ukrainian war, Bauer said that while the beginning of the Russian aggression constituted an escalation, Ukraine’s desire to reclaim the territories that rightly belong to it is not an escalation.
"If [the Russians] stop the war today, there will be no escalation," Bauer stressed.
Previously: On 19 January Rob Bauer said that Russia will remain a threat to NATO even if its forces are defeated in Ukraine.