THREE NATO countries will build bunkers along the border with Russia as fears of a Third World War continue to grow.
Europe has also been warned to increase its weapons stockpiles to “wartime levels” in anticipation of a looming battle against Vladimir Putin.
Following the carnage caused by the Russian president’s two-year invasion of Ukraine, the defense ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia agreed to take steps to avoid a similar fate .
The Baltic trio will build a “vast network of fortifications” along the borders with Russia to deter Putin from invading their country.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be €60 million (£51.2 million).
Construction will begin in Estonia, where the government plans to build some 600 bunkers clustered around the border crossings of Narva in the north and Voru in the south, Newsweek reports.
Susan Lilleväli of the Estonian Defense Ministry said the overall intention is to ensure readiness “to fight the enemy from the first meter and the first hour.”
“The war in Ukraine has shown that it is extremely difficult to recapture already conquered territories and is costly in human lives, time and material resources,” she said.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have long been seen as Putin’s most likely Russian targets should he consider attacking NATO countries.
Even though Ukraine has managed to resist Moscow’s assaults for years, it is likely that the three small Baltic states will be invaded within days.
“These installations are primarily aimed at avoiding military conflict in our region, as they could potentially change the enemy’s calculation,” Lilleväli added.
“Anti-mobility and fortification measures have played an important role in wars in our region throughout history, for example in Finland, and as the war in Ukraine demonstrated, they are perfectly valid too during this century.”
If Putin attacked all three NATO countries, the defense treaty allies would be forced to take military action against the Soviet state, including the United Kingdom and the United States.
NATO’s secretary general has since warned Europe to increase its weapons production levels in order to counter the Russian threat.
Jens Stoltenberg said: “We need to rebuild and expand our industrial base” to increase deliveries to Ukraine and replenish weapons stocks.
NATO chief says 31-member treaty not aimed at war with Russia, but pointed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as proof that ‘peace in Europe cannot be taken for granted “.
“If Putin wins in Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Russian aggression will not spread further,” he told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
“Supporting Ukraine now and investing in NATO’s own capabilities is our best defense.”
But fears of a World War III have risen further following former US President Donald Trump’s stunning threats against other NATO members.
The US politician said he would let Russia “do whatever it wants” to alliance members who don’t pay enough for their defense at a rally in South Carolina on Saturday.
NATO immediately intervened and criticized Trump for “endangering American and European soldiers.”
“NATO remains ready and able to defend all its allies,” they fumed. “Any attack on NATO will result in a united and forceful response.
“Any suggestion that allies will not defend themselves undermines our security as a whole, including that of the United States, and places American and European soldiers at increased risk.”
Trump’s comments will likely increase concern in Europe that U.S. military support for Ukraine will be withdrawn if he is re-elected later this year.
The former president has also long criticized NATO, threatening to pull the United States out of the alliance, with one of his campaign pledges aimed at “fundamentally” reevaluating “NATO’s purpose and mission.” .
But NATO hopes the United States will remain a strong and committed ally “regardless of who wins the presidential election.”
The White House called Trump’s comments “appalling and unbalanced.”
“Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes endangers American national security, global stability and our domestic economy,” spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Saturday.
“Rather than calling for war and promoting deranged chaos, President Biden will continue to strengthen American leadership and defend our national security interests, not against them.”