Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year has resulted in a reaffirmation among NATO members about the need for the Alliance and the role it plays in European security. However, as the war drags on, the scale of the challenge is becoming ever clearer.
Earlier this week, NATO announced that it would increase the number of forces held as rapid readiness to more than 300,000, up from around 40,000 at present, mainly based on the Alliance’s eastern front.
The move comes after decades of counter-insurgency operations by member states in countries such as Afghanistan and represents an indication of a return to a Cold War stance when NATO faced off against the Soviet Union. The casualty rates on both sides of the Ukraine-Russia war indicate a type of conflict being fought that has not been seen on the European continent for generations.
Speaking at the RUSI Land Power Conference in London on 28 June, the UK Chief of the General Staff General Patrick Sanders outlined the scale of the war in Ukraine, detailing the commitment by Moscow of 103 battalion tactical groups to the ground war, with up to 33,000 Russian military personnel dead, wounded, missing or captured.
In addition, Sanders said that Ukraine’s military is seeing up to 200 casualties per day, with 77,000km2 of its landmass seized by Russia – equivalent to 43% of the total area of the Baltic states. The renewed war has also resulted in around 4,700 civilian deaths, according to Sanders, with eight million civilians now refugees. [Continue reading…]