Can France and Europe meet the Russian security challenge?

After weeks and months of speculation and attempts at diplomatic mediation, Vladimir Putin unveiled part of his game yesterday Monday February 21, the day after the end of the Chinese Olympic Games, recognizing the independence of the two self-proclaimed republics of Donbass , and by moving just a few hours later, part of his units in this region, on the basis of pretexts as questionable as they are artificial. However, the exceptional deployment of force carried out by the Russian armies around Ukraine far exceeds the needs of this last maneuver alone to dissuade Ukraine from any attempt to retaliate, and the West from providing excessive support to Kyiv, suggesting that this decision would only represent a step in Russian strategy. The military challenge posed by the 190.000 Russian soldiers deployed on the borders of Ukraine completely redraws European geopolitics, and confronts Europeans with the realization of their powerlessness in the face of a country that is nevertheless 4 times less populated and 12 times less rich than themselves.

Beyond the disappointments for many leaders who thought until recently that Vladimir Putin was a valid interlocutor, the troop movements that allowed the entry of Russian forces into the Donbass having been started several days ago, even then that the Kremlin still gave hope of a possible diplomatic solution while it methodically applied its plan, it is now essential for Europeans to revise their defense posture and doctrines, including their dependence on American military power, to be in able to respond to the new security challenge posed by Moscow. In this field, France can, and must, seize the subject and, by example and not mere conviction, lead Europeans to neutralize the military power of the Kremlin.

What needs to neutralize Russian military power?

As previously mentioned, the security challenge posed by Moscow is not solely based on the conventional balance of power in Europe. The rapidity of the Russian deployment around Ukraine, the use, even indirect, of the nuclear threat, the state of readiness and reaction of the Russian armed forces, and the new technologies and reinforcement capabilities that they will acquire in the years to come, can potentially lead to a global collapse of Western defensive posture in Europe. Thus, where NATO is aiming for a three-month response capacity equivalent to 3 men within a rapid reaction force, the Russian Armies have been able to mobilize and deploy almost 40.000 times more soldiers, but also 5 tanks, more of 1.200 pieces of artillery, 1000 fighter planes and 500 combat ships on such a deadline.

Russia has deployed 35 anti-aircraft brigades to Ukraine's borders, an unparalleled access denial power assembled to date.

In addition, while the materials used by the Russian armies were still largely obsolete 10 years ago, they now have more than 70% of modern or defined materials in their arsenal, and of operational capabilities designed to gain the upper hand over NATO forces, with in particular 50 anti-aircraft brigades largely equipped with a long, medium and short-range collaborative system, very advanced electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, and an excellent mastery of communication and information, as shown by the many representatives policies in Europe as in France justifying Russian actions. Beyond the capacities observed today, the effort made by the Minister of Defense Sergeï Choïghou and by the Chief of Staff A. Gerasimov, will continue to build this military power in the years to come, with the entry into service of new high-tech equipment such as the T-14 Armata heavy tank, the Koalitsyia SV artillery system, the Su-57 heavy fighter or the S-500 anti-missile system.


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