Russia’s war in Ukraine may be a “rehearsal” for a possible large-scale conflict with NATO countries, a leading Russian political scientist has warned.
Alexei Fenenko, a research fellow at the Institute of International Security Studies and associate professor at Moscow State University’s School of World Politics, appeared on the state TV talk show “60 Minutes” airing on the Russia-1 channel and raised the prospect of a broader clash with the West.
“For us, the war in Ukraine … is a rehearsal for a possibly larger conflict in the future,” he said. “And that is why we’ll test and go up against NATO weapons, and will see on the battlefield how much stronger our weapons really are compared to theirs.”
“Maybe it will be a learning experience for a future conflict,” he added.
Olga Skabeyeva, the host of the show, who is considered to be a chief Kremlin propagandist, then chimed in, observing that “it’s a terrifying experiment.”
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Fenenko is not the first guest on Russia-1 to raise the possibility of a broader conflict between Russia and the West.
Alexei Zhuravlyov, a member of the nationalist Rodina political party, said during a recent appearance on the channel that “one Sarmat missile and the British Isles will be gone,” Newsweek reported.
Retired four-star US Gen. Barry R. McCaffery described Feneko’s NATO war remarks as “astonishing.”
“The economic and conventional military power of NATO/EU is multiple times that of Russia,” the three-time Purple Heart recipient tweeted Thursday. “A rehearsal for a war with NATO against a much smaller adversary in Ukraine that’s going very badly for Russia.”
By Ukraine’s estimates, since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, Russian forces have lost 28,000 soldiers and countless pieces of military equipment, including tanks and the nation’s Black Sea flagship, the Moskva.
NATO has refrained from getting directly involved in the Ukraine war, but many of its member states, led by the US, have supplied tens of billions of dollars in financial and humanitarian aid, as well as a wide range of weapons, to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia.