Russia Invade Europe?
If Russia was to invade Europe, how would it do it and could it do it at all?
In 2017, Russia conducted a series of military exercises known as Zapad, or “exercise West”. With their roots in the Soviet Union, Zapad military exercises have traditionally been shows of force, meant to let NATO know that Russia was willing and ready to fight. Despite assurances that Russia’s 2017 Zapad exercises were nothing more than preparations for counter-terror operations, an exercise that was supposed to feature only 10,000 personnel turned into a 100,000 strong mock-invasion of eastern Europe with one clear message: Russia’s military might is back. Today, we look into a very scary scenario, in this episode of The Infographics Show, Can Russia really invade Europe?
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia’s military severely atrophied, and despite remaining a sizable force its readiness and capabilities were all but defunct. . After such an embarrassing performance, Vladimir Putin vowed to improve the readiness and capabilities of the Russian military, culminating in a ten-year modernization push that has yielded huge results. While still mostly a conscript army, Russia’s military is seeing a huge expansion in the size of its volunteer forces- an important development given the drastically better performance and morale of an all-volunteer military force such as the US’ versus a conscripted force. New battle tanks and fighter aircraft have also dramatically improved its capabilities both on the air and on the ground, and while its fleets remain a glaring weakness, they would ultimately have limited use in a European battle. Russia has also dramatically improved its logistical capabilities, something that it has historically struggled with even under the former Soviet Union. Heavy road transport units for ferrying armor to the front lines via road networks has reduced Russia’s reliance on rail transport to get its tanks to the front lines, with rail lines being a natural first target for NATO bombardment. Russia has also doubled down on the one area it has traditionally outperformed NATO in, ground-based anti-air platforms. The introduction of the S-400 and the future deployment of the S-500 anti-air defense system has given NATO planners serious concerns, and with a range of up to 250 miles (400 kilometers), a single battery of S-400 units can threaten large swathes of a European battlefield. Russia has also invested heavily into modernizing its non-strategic nuclear forces, outpacing even the US in this arena.
Credit : The Infographics Show