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NATO doesn’t have enough air defenses to protect Eastern Europe from an invasion: report

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Central and Eastern European countries may find themselves vulnerable during an invasion because of NATO’s weak air defenses, per a new report from the Financial Times.

Members of the military alliance only have less than 5% of the air defense capabilities needed to protect those regions from attacks, the FT reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with NATO’s defense plans.

When asked about the report, a NATO official told the FT that its “capability targets and defense plans are classified” but noted that its air defense “stockpiles have been reduced.”

“NATO’s new defense plans also significantly increase air and missile defense requirements in quantity and readiness,” the official told the outlet.

The official added that the organization is confident its deterrence against Russia “remains strong.”

Representatives for NATO didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.

The FT’s report comes amid heightened concerns that NATO could find itself at war with Russia following the latter’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

In February, Estonia’s foreign intelligence service said it expects a “significant increase in Russian forces near the Estonian border in the coming years.

“The Kremlin is probably anticipating a possible conflict with NATO within the next decade,” the intelligence agency said.

On Tuesday, Russian leader Vladimir Putin hinted that Russia could retaliate against European countries that are calling for Ukraine to attack Russia directly.

“So, these officials from NATO countries, especially the ones based in Europe, particularly in small European countries, should be fully aware of what is at stake,” Putin told reporters.

“They should keep in mind that theirs are small and densely populated countries, which is a factor to reckon with before they start talking about striking deep into the Russian territory,” he said. “This unending escalation can lead to serious consequences.”

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