Russia’s Assault on Ukraine and European Security

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Series Details Number 143
Publication Date April/May 2022
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Putin’s decision to abandon any remnant of deniability and launch a full-scale attack on Ukraine was a watershed moment in European security. It also raised the spectre of the conflict expanding. To deter Russia from further aggression, NATO’s posture had to shift. Instead of the small forces in eastern members, intended to act as a ‘tripwire’, it needed larger deployments capable of defending territory. European armies were expected to have to provide most of those additional forces, and European defence spending had to rise to ensure that militaries had the right training and equipment to face Russia. European leaders were aware of the scale of the challenge. Many countries announced budget increases. German defence policy changed dramatically, with Berlin pledging to meet NATO’s target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence and announcing a one-off €100 billion fund to help achieve that. Others, like Denmark and Poland, also announced they would raise defence spending, and more countries were expected to follow in coming months.

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