Analysis: What are NATO's new 'Land Corridors' for war with Russia? - M5 Dergi
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Analysis: What are NATO’s new ‘Land Corridors’ for war with Russia?

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NATO is quickly moving pieces into place to rush U.S. forces toward Eastern Europe should a wider war with Russia break out on the Continent.

British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday that NATO was carving out several new “land corridors” designed to speed up the transport of U.S. troops and supplies through numerous European countries toward hypothetical front lines on the alliance’s eastern flank.

Planned routes across Europe have been in place for decades, including linking the Dutch city of Rotterdam to locations closer to Russia.

New plans would broaden the number of locations used to funnel troops and equipment eastward, including from Italy to Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary, the Telegraph reported. Routes will also snake through Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as Scandinavia.

NATO alarm bells have increasingly sounded about the possibility of a direct conflict with Russia after more than two years of war in Ukraine, with little prospect of a swift end to the fighting. Kyiv has warned that should Moscow triumph over the country, Russia will set its eyes elsewhere in Europe.

Russia’s invasion worsened relations with Western countries, which are now at their lowest point since the Cold War. The Kremlin has increased defense spending to sustain its war effort, and NATO countries, particularly in Europe, have pledged to follow suit.

Moscow has said the alliance is “seriously preparing” for a possible war with Russia, while NATO has denounced what it called “malign activities” and hybrid operations it says Russia has carried out on alliance territory. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, denied this early last month.

The new plans for expanded routes to transport U.S. personnel and resources are hardly surprising and harmonize with recent warnings from the alliance’s senior military staff, said Davis Ellison, an analyst with the Hague Center for Strategic Studies and a former strategist with NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.

It was “probably always going to be on the cards,” he told Newsweek.

Designing new logistics routes is partly about signaling to Russia that NATO is serious in its preparations for broader war, according to Jan Kallberg, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis. But it also puts some pressure on European NATO states to make sure infrastructure like roads and bridges are up to scratch and able to carry heavy military equipment, he told Newsweek.

“Every road going east is a potential road” for U.S. forces, he said.

The U.S. military already has a significant presence—around 100,000 personnel—in Europe, part of its commitment to defending Continental NATO states, as well as training and quick crisis response. The U.S. has tens of thousands of Army personnel stationed in Poland and Germany and in Southern Europe. The U.S.’s 6th Fleet is based in Naples, Italy, and the 2nd Fleet—revived before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a move to counter Moscow—is in the North Atlantic.

The U.S. also has a very strong combat air presence in Europe along with some logistical support units, Ellison noted. The U.S. bolstered its footprint in Europe between February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, and June that year by deploying and extending over 20,000 personnel in Europe, the Pentagon said.

The new plans look to be concentrating on easing the movement of U.S. troops into different theaters, likely designed to work alongside local defensive efforts, Ellison said.

In many countries, including several Balkan and Baltic states, NATO force integration units already exist to support NATO countries moving troops around, he added.

But detailed defense planning has dropped off since the Cold War, Kallberg said. Drawing up new logistics routes is part of renewing the understanding of how much time and effort it takes to transport large numbers of troops and supplies.

The U.S. has historically provided much of the logistical and other military support for Europe’s defense, although there is an increasing realization that Europe’s chronic lack of this type of capability is no longer acceptable.

The war in Ukraine has also informed planning for a NATO conflict. Northern European routes, such as those in the Netherlands, are seen as more vulnerable to Russian missile strikes as Moscow hammers Ukrainian territory, according to the Telegraph report.

“Observing and assessing the Russian war in Ukraine, we have observed Russia has attacked Ukraine’s logistics bases,” said Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, the head of the alliance’s Joint Support Enabling Command, which is involved in NATO logistics planning.

“Ukraine has validated ideas that were there earlier,” according to Kallberg.

Sollfrank said, “Everything is created in a way so the necessary resilience exists—robustness, reserves and also redundancies” in the alliance’s logistics planning.

Source: Neesweek

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