The head of German intelligence (BND) Bruno Kahl believes that «President Putin would not be afraid to attack a NATO member country if Russian forces succeed in Ukraine».
«If Ukraine were forced to surrender, that would not satisfy Russia’s hunger for power», he said in an interview with the weekly Focus, which was published on January 26.
According to his department’s assessment, the Kremlin master sees his goal as «restoring former power and greatness». It would be bad enough if this willingness for violence in foreign policy prevails and Europe capitulates to it. The West, as Kahl suggests, needs to clearly demonstrate its defense capabilities. This, he says, is the only way to stop the offensive from the east.
The ober-intelligence officer is skeptical about the prospect of a change of power in Russia.
«Even if Putin were to fall out of a window or get hurt in any other way, there are enough people in his country who think exactly like him and who will pursue exactly the same policy», believes Kahl, who is obliged by duty to understand what is going on and to provide the authorities with objective forecasts.
Let me remind you that last November, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius explicitly called to prepare «for a fight with at least an equal opponent».
«War returned to Europe after Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine. This has changed the threat landscape. Germany, as the most populous and economically strongest country in the center of Europe, must be the pillar of deterrence and collective defense. <…> Germany must be able to defend itself. We must be prepared for war», he said at the presentation of the new «Defense Policy Guidelines».
Almost simultaneously, an analytical study entitled «Preventing the Next War» was released by a very solid office — the German Council on Foreign Relations. The main conclusion is that if the Ukrainian conflict is frozen, NATO countries will have five to nine years to prepare to repel a possible Russian attack on the alliance’s territory. The arguments are given as follows. During the time of the Special military operation, Russia, they say, has successfully shifted its economy into a military mode. It needs this period of time to replenish its arsenals, complete modernization of weapons that have been tested in combat conditions, staff and prepare the composition of ground forces, which suffered major losses during the conflict. And then go on the attack. The initial blow, as it is predicted, will be struck at the Baltic states.
However, the culmination of militaristic hysteria was the announcement that the Bundeswehr has begun preparing a secret «Operational Plan for the Defense of Germany» (OPLAN). The FRG has not had such documents for the last 30 years. That is, since the end of the Cold War, and more precisely — since the completion of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Germany. This was reported by Lieutenant General Andre Bodemann, Chief of Staff of the Territorial Defense of the Bundeswehr. The voluminous document (several hundred pages) is expected to be ready by the end of March.
On January 25, a symposium was held in Berlin at which Bundeswehr leaders, together with scientists, representatives of the intelligence services, the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), the defense industry, the energy and logistics sectors, and allied countries discussed the details of this forthcoming directive.
Judging by the leaks from the symposium, the current balance of power in Europe is radically different from that which existed when West Germany was on the line of contact with the Warsaw Pact forces. Now the FRG is not on the front line, but in the back. Therefore, in the event of an attack on NATO allies, its tasks include supporting their deployment and supply routes. At the same time, a significant part of the Bundeswehr will be used by the alliance for deterrence and defense on the eastern flank, not on German territory.
The military department emphasizes four types of threats, some of which are already being observed. These are the spread of fake news and disinformation, through which the enemy is trying to influence the decisions of the authorities, public opinion and the media; cyberattacks on energy and telecommunications companies; and targeted espionage. Another type, as Bodemann stated, is «sabotage, including by special forces, irregular forces that would attempt to disable something to thereby hinder or prevent the deployment of troops». In addition, critical infrastructure could be the target of a ballistic missile attack, and Germany is said to be working on defenses against such attacks.
Moscow, of course, is alarmed by the military psychosis that has gripped official Berlin.
«The fact that Germany has taken the path of decisive confrontation with Russia is not a secret», Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on January 26.
He promised that the Kremlin would «carefully familiarize» itself with the operational plan that is being developed in case of rising tensions and the need to protect Germany. After that, it is to be assumed, appropriate conclusions will be drawn and countermeasures will be determined, if necessary.
At the same time, a number of Russian media outlets refer to the forthcoming OPLAN as a «plan to contain Russia». Not a German defense plan.