Ex-general says NATO-Russia nuclear war ‘possible within a year’

NATO’s former deputy military chief in Europe says his book, a fictional story which describes a nuclear war with Russia over the Baltic nations taking place in 2017, is based on an “entirely plausible” scenario.

General Sir Richard Shirreff, from Britain, served at the second-highest NATO military office in Europe between 2011 and 2014. He says his experience acquired in the alliance of war-gaming future conflicts helped him model the narrative for the book.

According to his scenario, starting next year Russia would first occupy Ukraine to secure a land route to Crimea and then invade the three Baltic nations, all of which are members of NATO. The move, Shirreff argued, would be driven by the perception of NATO’s weakness and Russia’s opposition to what it sees as the alliance’s attempts to encircle it.

“We need to judge President [Vladimir] Putin by his deeds not his words,” the retired general told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “He has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it.”

The supposed invasion of Georgia in 2008 was Russia’s response to a Georgian attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia, which started with the killings of Russian peacekeepers stationed there to prevent such hostilities. Russia responded by defeating the NATO-trained Georgian Army and withdrew. Moscow later recognized South Ossetia as a sovereign state, formalizing its de facto independence from Georgia that had been in place since the 1990s.

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