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Russia is preparing for an all-out war with NATO to happen sooner than originally believed: ISW

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Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s focus on reviving the Russian economy isn’t just about funding the country’s war on Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War says.

“Several Russian financial, economic, and military indicators suggest that Russia is preparing for a large-scale conventional conflict with NATO, not imminently but likely on a shorter timeline than what some Western analysts have initially posited,” the ISW wrote in a report on Wednesday.

The think tank cited a meeting Putin held with the Russian Duma on Tuesday, just days after the Russian leader claimed a landslide victory in his fifth presidential election on Sunday.

During the meeting, Putin discussed the areas he wanted to focus on in his fifth presidential term. The most important thing, Putin told lawmakers, was about “saving people” and “helping out families.”

“All this can be done, of course, only on the basis of economic development,” Putin said on Tuesday. “This is a key issue for our country’s development, on which all other issues of technological sovereignty and social development must be resolved.”

Putin also took shots at the nation’s wealthy elite, urging lawmakers not to be guided by “corporate or even party interests.”

The ISW said Putin’s remarks suggested he was willing to risk his ties with the “siloviki,” the wealthy ex-security officials who have been a part of his political base. The think tank said this was perhaps Putin’s signal to Russia’s elite that they’d have to feel “some pain” for Russia’s financial stability.

“Putin’s attempts to set conditions to stabilize Russia’s economy and finances are most likely part of Russian financial and domestic preparations for a potential future large-scale conflict with NATO and not just for a protracted war in Ukraine,” the ISW added in its report.

This isn’t the first time analysts have said a war between Russia and NATO could be imminent.

Estonia’s foreign-intelligence service said in a report last month that Russia was preparing for a “confrontation with the West.”

“Russia has chosen a path which is a long-term confrontation,” the agency’s chief, Kaupo Rosin, told journalists at the report’s launch, according to Reuters. “The Kremlin is probably anticipating a possible conflict with NATO within the next decade or so.”

Representatives for Russia’s defense ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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