Czech general: NATO and Russia have never been so close to an armed conflict

Russia and NATO have never been closer to a real direct conflict, conventional or nuclear, than they are now, said the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech army, Karel Rehka, during Monday’s conference on Russian power and influence against Central Europe.

The general said that a conflict between Russia and NATO would have a significant impact on Czech Republic. He described the situation as “serious”, saying that despite decades of animosity, the threat of outright conflict between the two powers is now grave.

Rehka also stated that the “warning period” before a possible conflict on the European battlefield can be relatively short; however, he called it a benefit that NATO now has a clearly defined adversary in Europe.

“Another thing that has changed for me as a soldier is that I have a clearly defined adversary here in Europe,” he said.

“We were ashamed to call Russia a threat or an adversary or something when they label us that way, treat us that way,” Rehka added. Related: Saudi Arabia Expresses ‘Total Rejection’ of US Statements on OPEC+

“It has to be said that as the Chief of the General Staff, I am sure that if I am going to fight someone here on the European battlefield, I know who it is. Currently, most likely, it is the Russian Federation“, Rehka affirmed.

Rehka said he believed it was impossible to hope for a quick end to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

“Anything can happen, but I don’t see it,” he said.

According to him, nor does the conflict have a good solution.

“Now we’re talking about the seriousness – more or less – of the solution going forward,” he said.

He pointed out that Czech Republic must be an unfailing ally within NATO.

“We as the Army of the Czech Republic are defending and will always do so within the framework of the Alliance”, he said. With this in mind, Rehka drew attention to the need for a stable defense budget. He noted that the army does a lot of things; it helped during the Covid-19 pandemicand he helped during the floods that massively affected the Czech Republic in the summer of 2002.

“We must not forget why we have an army and armed forces,” he said. The army is there to fight, is supposed to prepare to fight and is irreplaceable in this role.


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