Iulian Chifu, president of CPCEA: "If Ukraine falls, Russia will have the ability in a maximum of 7 years to attack NATO countries"

George Marinescu
English Section / 26 februarie

Iulian Chifu, the president of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early, told BURSA newspaper Warning

Iulian Chifu, the president of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early, told BURSA newspaper Warning

Versiunea în limba română

If Ukraine loses the war and comes under the influence of the Kremlin, Russia will have the ability in a period between 5 and 7 years to attack NATO member states, Iulian Chifu, the president of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early, told BURSA newspaper Warning.

Mr. Iulian Chifu specified: "American General David Petraeus spoke about 6 years, the German Minister of Defense, Boris Pistorius stated that it is about 5 years. My rating is 5-7 years. In fact, around here, between 5 and 8 years is the period during which Russia, on a possible general mobilization or on a hidden formula and the transition of its economy to a war economy, can rebuild an army capable or able to attack including NATO member states. That is why I believe that between 5 and 7 years Russia will have the ability, if Ukraine falls, to attack NATO states and will also have the will to do it. This is the interval, it is not a short one, because the Western states come from a distinct situation - professional armies, strategic long-range combat formulas of the expeditionary type, and not reserve armies, with war production, industrial mass production. And then the jump from here, from where we are, to credible deterrence in relation to the entire Eastern Flank and, obviously, to reserves to be able to support Ukraine to defend itself requires about this time frame. An ammunition factory is not built before a year and a half - two years, mass production cannot be invented overnight, just as the ability to train and recruit what is necessary for a credible army to ensure deterrence - which means we are not preparing for war, but preventing Russia from ever launching such an adventure. At the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July 2023, the term forward defense was approved, which practically includes the famous statement of the American president Joe Biden - «not an inch of the territory» (not an inch of allied territory should be conquered) which is also found in the final document of the summit. It's a lesson learned; we see how difficult it is for Ukraine to regain its territory".

Regarding the current war launched two years ago by the Russian Federation, Mr. Chifu believes that this aggression marks the return of conventional war in Europe. The President of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning showed that in 2024 it will be 10 years since the famous Euromaidan and the annexation of Crimea by Russia, annexation "which was another step forward regarding the modification of borders by force; sure, in that hybrid version, but by force, followed by the military aggression from the two pieces of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine".

Iulian Chifu continued: "Well, on this occasion, we unfortunately mark the fact that war has returned to Europe as an instrument of foreign policy, that we have a revisionist state - the Russian Federation, which calls into question all the rules at the European level , internationally, the rules-based world, but above all all its international commitments and certainly in the relationship with Ukraine and the CIS states. Here we are.

How is the war going? Of course, it is not in the most favorable situation, and perhaps that is why this forcing that the Russian Federation is doing, including with Transnistria, whose separation from Moldova is also announced by its accession to Russia, with Putin's speech expected for February 29, which - you see, God - it would also include the annexation of the three territories - Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with elements of pressure on the Republic of Moldova that we already see and pressure behind Ukraine - if Transnistria formally becomes Russian territory. Sure, right now it's information warfare and it's not a reality. Putin feels stronger; won Avdiivka, even if it cost him the lives of many soldiers - 16,000 in the last month alone according to recent data from the Institute for the Study of War (ed. - ISW) and is putting pressure on the entire front as the presidential elections in Russia on March 15-17. It is no coincidence that the date of the presidential elections in Russia this year coincides with the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, which is actually the reason why Putin wanted the presidential elections to take place on those days".

His lordship wanted to specify that fortunately for Europe and for the democratic states "Ukraine did not fall; Ukraine resists" and recalled the 50 billion euro aid recently approved by the European Union for the authorities in Kiev, but also about the support that would was to come from the USA.

Mr. Chifu said: "The US authorities are still pushing for a vote in the House of Representatives and most likely after this forced break by the president of the House of Representatives to make room and to avoid further pressure, that negotiated bipartisan law, massively voted in the Senate with 70 votes "for" that allocates 60 billion dollars for Ukraine, will be put to a vote and pass . With these elements of aid, Ukraine has the necessary financial tools to make ends meet. Here, Germany has doubled its military aid to Ukraine from 4 to 8 billion euros. All these elements show continued support for Ukraine, to be able to defend itself and to be able to regain its territory within the internationally recognized limits".

The President of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning warns that it will not be simple because "in democracies there are different opinions, there are fault zones that Russia tries to capitalize on to create discrepancies".

Iulian Chifu continued: "We have some European elections and the information war is a tool that Russia launched on the West 15 years ago, but we woke up a little later. The formula is very clear: at the moment the threat of a large-scale, high-intensity, long-term Russian war on NATO, the EU and the Eastern Flank states cannot be dismissed, which means that the best defense formula is to prepare, to have the necessary tools and to credibly deter any action by the Russian Federation on this territory. This is done by strengthening allied solidarity, training military capabilities, people, adapting military doctrines to the lessons learned in Ukraine."

Regarding the duration of the current conflict in Ukraine, although at the beginning of it he estimated that it would last 3-5 years, but with the observation that in Syria it has already reached 12 years and in North Korea the conflict is still open, now Mr. Chifu claims that "discussing a term in the perspective of a war, I think it's more of a riddle, because it's not even related to Putin's life, to the duration of his life, because there is someone around him who will inherit him".

Iulian Chifu specified: "Of course, the disappearance from life of Putin will be a blow and there will be moments when the succession to the leadership of Russia will be debated, but in principle - as we now see the Russian Federation settled, including after the execution of Navalnyi - we see that the perspective is that Putin will be followed by a Putinist, so someone from his circle. He will be a person who will not have Putin's legitimacy, he will have to earn it and he will only be able to earn it by continuing Putin's big projects, Putinism first of all because he is the survival of the surrounding system, and the war. Regarding the war, the chance of a man in Putin's circle to get out of this war, in the absence of the legitimacy that Putin has conquered in 25 years, is very small. So it is unlikely that a successor to Putin will declare the next day that Russia is ending the war. We are not in the post-collapse situation of the Soviet Union, where after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the war in Afghanistan ended after 10 years and the Soviet troops withdrew."

That is why, from the perspective of current perspectives, the president of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning believes that the fundamental responsibility of the Romanian state is to defend its citizens, defend its territory, to give confidence, because that is the only way to make investments and develop the economy.

Mr. Iulian Chifu concluded: "Romania's problem is to ensure, in the absence of its own capabilities, its own part of the country's defense effort. So the authorities must give the military instrument what it needs to align with NATO states and be able to build this credible deterrence. Also, whatever happens in the Republic of Moldova will concern Romania. Whoever imagines that the Republic of Moldova can be a gray area or a buffer zone, I think they are dreaming. Consequently, we certainly support Ukraine as much as possible, to the end, but equally with regard to the Republic of Moldova, we will have to think of formulas in which we can help it so that it has the necessary capabilities to at least be able to confront the military structures which is located in the separatist region of Transnistria".

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