ISV: A major Russian war against NATO is possible

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The reconstruction of the Leningrad and Moscow Military Districts (LVO and MVO) serves a dual purpose - to simultaneously consolidate control over military operations in Ukraine in the short and medium term and to make the necessary preparations for a possible future full-scale war against NATO countries, states the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The Institute reminds that yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two decrees for the official restoration of the Leningrad and Moscow Military Districts, which consolidate the main efforts to rebuild the Russian army.

According to the Institute's analysts, "Putin's decree to permanently close the Western Military District (ZVO), which the Russian Ministry of Defense created in 2010 by merging the Moscow and Leningrad military districts, is a sign of preparations for a possible future major war against NATO in the long run."

Previously, ZVO covered border areas with north-eastern Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states, which strategically divided the district's attention between Russian military action in Ukraine after a full-scale invasion in 2022 and NATO countermeasures.

Therefore, as stated, the redistribution of ZVO to the military districts of Moscow and Leningrad is a direct solution to this issue. The LVO would straddle the Alliance's northeastern border, and the MVO would border northeastern Ukraine and Poland, allowing Russia to simultaneously deploy troops against NATO countries and optimize command and control of its forces in the Ukraine war.

Putin previously said the creation of the LVO was necessary in view of Finland joining the alliance in 2023, signaling an apparent intention on the part of the Kremlin to deploy its troops against the North Atlantic Treaty countries.

Yesterday, the Russian president signed the decree "On military administrative division", with which LVO and MVO appear in Russia, and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine will "enter" the Southern Military District.

Military districts centered on Moscow and St. Petersburg existed until 2010. At the end of 2022, during the presentation of the plan to reform the army, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced his intention to renew them.

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