The hybrid warfare tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin break off just below the threshold of war, sow distrust of the democratic West among dissident groups and spread harmful propaganda about conspiracy theories on social media
Image: Mikhail Metzel / TASS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a tremendous threat to Europe using what NATO commanders call hybrid warfare.
He is building his military, openly demonstrating Russia’s power while engaging in other devious exploratory actions that fall below the threshold of warfare.
These are cyberattacks that spread harmful propaganda such as manipulation by conspiracy theories on social media related to Covid-19 and other topics.
Anything that stirs civil unrest in the West undermines the democracies he despises.
His spies across Ukraine and the wider region have aroused suspicion of the West among dissident groups for years.
Moscow’s agents have played a brilliant role in unjustifiably fueling pro-Russian distrust of the Kiev government.
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Yegor Alejew / TASS)
We got to know Ukraine as a fairly liberal democracy that is a friend of NATO.
So Moscow continues to tear down at the border, gradually using its military on the offensive and other methods within the country just below the threshold of war.
In 2014, Russian troops flooded Crimea in an almost bloodless coup and annexed Ukrainian territory within a few days.
Russia’s muscle game against Ukraine can only go so far without action and NATO is understandably nervous.
Previous false positives were taken seriously and Western commanders were relaxed again if it didn’t happen.
This creates a nervous, nervous and constant alert, which in turn makes the enemy feel overwhelmed by the threat of war.
It could all be a very long game, but Moscow could strike at any moment – if Putin thinks the time is right.
He knows only too well that approaching winter could be a good time to do so – when the ground is solid for tanks and the weather is least appealing to NATO troops.
But if America says it has usable information and its exact details cannot be shared, it may be time to take the threat seriously.