Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, the commander of NATO’s military logistics center in Germany, has emphasized the need for NATO to be ready for potential Russian missile strikes in Europe if an all-out war with Russia were to occur. This statement, made in an interview with The Times on Jan. 28, underscores the ongoing concerns within the alliance regarding the possibility of a full-scale conflict with Russia.
In response to Russia’s comprehensive invasion of Ukraine, NATO forces have actively strengthened their capabilities and readiness. Despite successfully preventing an escalation to an all-out confrontation with Russia thus far, there remains apprehension that the West has not fully acknowledged the continuing risk.
Numerous NATO commanders and leaders within the alliance have issued increasingly stark warnings about the severe consequences of such a war and its potential impact on Europe. Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer, the chair of the NATO Military Committee, cautioned in January that NATO member countries should be prepared for the likelihood of an all-out war with Russia within the next two decades.
Sollfrank and other NATO generals have voiced their concerns, suggesting that a direct military clash with Russia could materialize within the next three years. In the event of such a conflict, Germany, serving as the central hub of NATO’s logistics in central Europe, would likely be a primary target.
While Sollfrank expressed confidence in NATO’s current capacity to defend against and potentially deter a Russian invasion, he also highlighted potential challenges. The existing distribution of NATO forces across the continent, coupled with a lack of preparation on the eastern flank, could force NATO armies into difficult and costly decisions.
Brigadier General Frank Schmitz emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach, stating, “We have been very focused on the east. I think we also need capacity to the rear: all kinds of capacity.”
Despite progress, Sollfrank acknowledged lingering issues, such as challenges with the interchangeability of NATO equipment and personnel, which could impede an effective response. However, he expressed optimism that necessary adjustments and reductions in bureaucratic obstacles could be made to enhance preparedness.