Denmark and NATO are defenseless against the Russia’s new superweapon
This post was published in Inosmi. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
COPENHAGEN, (BM) – Russia in the Baltic region and the Arctic now has the military power to strike at Denmark and NATO. Particularly in the Arctic, there is a high risk that the conflict could spiral out of control, the Danish military analyst said.
The Russian MiG fighter rises from Franz Josef Land in the Arctic Ocean and heads for Greenland. It has a long-range missile on its belly.
After a few minutes of flight, the rocket separates from the aircraft and is sent into space, in order to pass through the atmosphere a moment later at a speed ten times the speed of light, and destroy the Thule base radar station.
These are no longer just fantasies – today Russia is really capable of it. We don’t know for sure how far the new Russian Dagger [Kinzhal – ed.] missile flies, but one thing is certain: with its speed, hitting accuracy and at least a thousand-kilometer range, it changes the balance of power in the Arctic.
Without a doubt, the Dagger is such a new weapon that the United States needs to find a counterbalance in Greenland, said Lieutenant Commander Anders Puck Nielsen, a military analyst at the Defense Academy.
“Thule radars are part of a missile shield, and in case of war, the Russians will definitely want to destroy them. And now they are practically not protected in any way, so the Americans have new tasks in Greenland,” says Anders Puck Nielsen.
In addition, the new super-high-speed missile and the short reaction time it leaves for the enemy demonstrate how quickly something can go wrong in the conflict between the West and Russia.
When the Dagger missile was introduced in 2018 along with five other superweapons, it became clear that their target was the West. A lot of attention was then paid to their ability to overcome any missile shields, explains Anders Pook Nielsen. And now other new items are already ready.
“At the moment, the situation is quite tense, there is a risk that the wrong conclusions will be drawn, something will go wrong and provoke an escalation,” says a military analyst.
Threat in the Baltic region
For many years, when discussing the threat to Denmark and NATO from Russia, a lot of attention has been paid to the Baltics.
A report presented by the US security think tank RAND in 2016 shows that Russia can take over all three Baltic capitals in 48 hours. Since then, Denmark and other NATO countries have increased their contingents in the Baltic States and Poland, and have also begun to conduct more joint exercises in the Baltic Sea.
However, Russia can still take over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at once, writes Polish security policy expert Konrad Muzyka in his analysis for the Estonian think tank International Defense and Security Center.
Specifically, Russia will be able to use the 20th Army from Voronezh, the 6th Army from St. Petersburg and the 1st Guards Tank Army, which is based in Odintsovo near Moscow, the analysis says. According to Konrad Muzyka’s estimates, the mobilization of these troops will take at most a month.
“At the moment, it is unlikely that Russia is planning an invasion, but if relations with NATO deteriorate or, for example, the United States does not keep its promise to come to the aid of its allies, one can only guess what will happen.”
In this case, it is unlikely that Russia’s goal will be to restore the former empire. Russia simply wants to push the front of a potential war as far away from Moscow as possible. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia almost lost its so-called strategic depth – the distance from the country’s external borders to its key territories. It is precisely the strategic depth that Russia, according to Konrad Muzyka, tried to ensure for itself with the help of wars with Georgia and Ukraine.
“Russia can intervene to protect the Russian minority, but an official pretext is needed. The most important thing for Russia is to seize the initiative and use the factor of surprise. And it will have to seize the entire territory, not just part of Estonia, in order to prevent NATO from gathering forces,” says Konrad Muzyka.
Threats in the Arctic
Anders Puck Nielsen is not so pessimistic. He agrees that Russia can theoretically take over the Baltics, but it will have to pay too high a price for this in relation to the gains achieved.
But, in the opinion of Anders Pook Nielsen, in the sense of dangerous conflicts, the Arctic has a much greater potential, which has symbolic meaning for Russia. Russia has secured a very strong military position due to the fact that the international rules of the game for this region are blurred.
Therefore, the West is in great danger of doing something that will alarm Russia. For example, if the United States really begins to send warships to the Northern Sea Route to show that this is not about Russia’s internal waters.
“I think the Russians will perceive this as an extreme violation of their sovereignty, and the situation could get out of control,” says Anders Puck Nielsen.
On the whole, however, NATO is much stronger than Russia. Therefore, the outcome of a war ultimately depends on the cohesion of NATO members and on Russia’s readiness to use nuclear weapons.
Konrad Muzyka believes that Europe and the United States underestimate the nuclear threat. If, for example, NATO forces enter the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad during the war over the Baltic states, it is very likely that this will provoke a nuclear attack, according to Russian nuclear doctrine, he explains.
“It doesn’t have to be a megaton warhead. Maybe just a small tactical nuclear bomb to show that Russia is serious,” says Muzyka.
However, Nielsen believes that in fact, the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons for Russia is constantly rising, as its conventional forces become stronger and opportunities to use other methods appear. “I believe that as long as Russia has alternatives, it will try to avoid nuclear weapons.”
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