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NATO has only 5% of air defense assets needed to protect eastern flank

NATO has only 5% of air defense assets needed to protect eastern flank Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

NATO is reported to possess only a small fraction of the necessary anti-aircraft resources to defend its Eastern flank, exposing the continent's vulnerability on a massive scale, citing Financial Times.

Russia's war against Ukraine has underscored the importance of air defense, as Kyiv urges the West to provide additional systems and missiles to protect its cities, troops, and energy infrastructure from daily bombing raids.

However, insiders familiar with confidential defense plans drafted last year reveal that NATO countries are capable of providing less than 5% of the required anti-aircraft resources to defend their members in Central and Eastern Europe from a full-scale assault.

A senior NATO diplomat said that the ability to defend against missiles and air strikes is "a major part of the plan to defend eastern Europe from invasion," adding, "And right now, we don't have that."

On Thursday, May 30, foreign ministers of NATO countries will gather in Prague for two days of talks aimed at preparing for the alliance's summit in Washington in July, where strengthening European defense will be a central topic.

Some European leaders and military officials have warned that by the end of the decade, Russia may have the capability to attack NATO member countries.

NATO prepares for possible escalations

Last year, the German Bild published materials based on secret NATO documents, revealing that the alliance is developing plans in case of a possible Russian invasion.

Various resistance options are being considered as part of preparation for such a scenario.

Later, Admiral Rob Bauer, chairman of NATO's Military Committee, emphasized the need to transform the alliance. According to him, the West must be prepared for any event in today's world, including the outbreak of war, which could occur suddenly.

In turn, Finnish President Alexander Stubb believes that to prevent war, action rather than mere rhetoric is necessary: increasing defense capabilities and being prepared for any challenges.

Thus, NATO and Western countries are taking steps to strengthen their security amid heightened geopolitical tensions.