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NATO ally warns Russia will soon seek war with the West as alliance spending bump still falls short

nato-ally-warns-russia-will-soon-seek-war-with-the-west-as-alliance-spending-bump-still-falls-short
NATO ally warns Russia will soon seek war with the West as alliance spending bump still falls short

NATO announced more members have met the 2% defense spending requirement, but almost half of members have still failed to meet the minimum, as Russia reportedly looks to increase its presence along the alliance’s borders.

“In 2024, NATO Allies in Europe will invest a combined total of 380 billion U.S. dollars in defense. For the first time, this amounts to 2% of their combined GDP,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a meeting of defense ministers. 

“We are making real progress,” Stoltenberg insisted. “European allies are spending more. However, some Allies still have a ways to go because we agreed at the Vilnius Summit that all Allies should invest 2%, and that 2% is a minimum.”

Collective spending will hit 2% in 2024, according to Stoltenberg, rising from 1.56% spent in 2019 and 1.85% in 2023. Poland spends the most, with 3.9% of GDP spent on defense, followed by the U.S. at 3.49% and Greece at 3.01%. 

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NATO Russia military

Russian President Vladimir Putin in side-by-side with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. (Getty Images)

Stoltenberg credited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for spurring the rapid increase over the past two years, and spending could see another bump after Estonia claimed that Moscow is preparing for confrontation with the West within the next decade, starting with a buildup along the borders of NATO members. Last week, Denmark warned that an attack could occur within the next three to five years.

“Russia has chosen a path which is a long-term confrontation… and the Kremlin is probably anticipating a possible conflict with NATO within the next decade or so,” Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service chief Kaupo Rosin told reporters on Tuesday. 

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Stoltenberg and Blinken meet at NATO headquarters

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, center, arrives with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, at the first meeting of the North Atlantic Council of foreign ministers at NATO headquarters during the first day of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Nov. 28, 2023. (Omar Havana/Getty Images)

Estonia claimed that Russia is looking to reform its forces following the embarrassing shortfall in Ukraine, including a change in command structure and adding new units and formations “in almost all branches” in pursuit of expanded personnel strength, aiming to double its forces to 1.5 million service members. 

The reforms, which will roll out over three to four years, will include a shift in focus towards Finland’s border following its ascension to NATO and the addition of a 44th Army Corps. 

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US Army 101sr Airborne Division seen next to Hummer vehicles

Members of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, 1st Battalion of the 506th Infantry Regiment are seen with Humvee vehicles near Tapa, Estonia, on May 19, 2023. (Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Rosin stressed that an imminent attack remains “highly unlikely as long as Russia continues its campaign in Ukraine, and could be averted if Europe matched Russia’s buildup.” 

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“If we are not prepared, the likelihood (of a Russian military attack) would be much higher than without any preparation,” Rosin stressed. 

NATO’s announcement and Estonia’s intelligence report were released just after former President Donald Trump blasted the alliance as “busted” and said he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to NATO members who did not “pay your bills.” 

Reuters contributed to this report.

Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news. 

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