‘We must prepare for war with Russia’ Nato general’s chilling warning as unhinged Putin threatens Europe

‘We must prepare for war with Russia’ Nato general’s chilling warning as unhinged Putin threatens Europe

A TOP Nato general says his nation should be “seriously afraid of war” with Russia amid growing fears the conflict in Ukraine could spill into Nato member states.

It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin warns Europe will face “serious consequences” if his country’s assets held abroad are used to assist Ukraine.

WikipediaCommander-in-chief of the Dutch army Lieutenant General Martin Wijnen says the Netherlands should be ‘seriously afraid of war’ with Russia[/caption]

AlamyRussian President Vladimir Putin is threatening ‘serious consequences’ for Europe if it uses his country’s seized assets to help Ukraine[/caption]

AFPLt Gen Wijnen addresses soldiers prior to the departure of Dutch Patriot air defence systems to Slovakia in April 2022[/caption]

Commander-in-chief of the Dutch army Lieutenant General Martin Wijnen said the Netherlands must bolster its army and stock up on food and drinkable water in preparation for possible war with Russia.

In an interview with newspaper De Telegraaf, he warned “Russia is getting stronger”.

He added: “The Netherlands should be seriously afraid of war and our society should prepare for it.”

“The Netherlands should not think our safety is guaranteed because we are 1,500 kilometres away [from the Russians].”

Nato provisions mean that an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all allies.

Military service has not been compulsory in the Netherlands since 1997, but the Defence Ministry recently introduced a voluntary “service year” for young people – which Lt Gen Wijnen says is “not conscription” but instead offers young people “the right to serve”.

The top general said he hopes the initiative will attract two to three thousand new fighters each year.

A third of the future recruits are expected to choose a career in the army and a third will likely become reservists.

Lt Gen Wijnen said: “There is only one language that Russia understands, and that is one of a strong military.”

The Netherlands, a founding member of Nato, has been a strong ally of Ukraine since Putin ordered his invasion in February last year.

The country’s prime minister Mark Rutte announced last week that it will supply 18 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in aid of its defence.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed there is a “real risk” Putin’s “aggression” will be directed towards other countries if he wins his war in Ukraine.

He said: “The only way to reach a just and lasting solution is to convince President Putin that they will not win on the battlefield.

“And the only way to ensure that President Putin realises that he is not winning on the battlefield is to continue to support Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Putin told reporters that if European leaders or US President Joe Biden are planning to seize Russian central bank assets – believed to be in excess of £236billion – they should “realise that Russia will never leave those who do it alone”.

The many billions of pounds worth of sovereign Russian assets were blocked in the West after Putin sent troops into Ukraine last year.

Putin has since accused the West of unleashing an economic war against Russia and called the freezing of the reserves theft.

The Biden administration is said to be looking at whether the funds can be spent directly on the Ukrainian military effort or used just for reconstruction and budgeting, according to The New York Times.

Earlier this month, the UK’s foreign secretary Lord Cameron announced he wanted a joint approach to using the frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine.

The former PM said: “Is it time not just to freeze the assets… but to spend some of the assets.

“I think there are some very strong answers for why we should consider doing this.”

Speaking on speculation about a potential seizure taking place in February, if European nations agree with the US on a strategy, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The illegitimate seizure of our assets invariably remains on the agenda both in Europe and in America.

“This issue is unacceptable to us. Potentially, it is extremely dangerous to the global financial system.”

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that an asset seizure could serve as the “trigger for a possible outbreak of confrontation that may potentially lead to breaking off relations.”

He added “further military escalation” including the placement of short and medium-range missiles in Europe could also result in a break in diplomatic relations.

The UK’s Lord Cameron says he wants a joint approach to using the cash frozen since Russia’s 2022 invasion of UkrainePA

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