In an interview with the German magazine, Sergey Karaganov, a veteran political scientist and member of the influential Foreign Policy and Defense Council of the Russia Foreign Ministry, said in bold terms that the risk of a new shooting war in Europe has been on the rise for a decade and is now as high as it was at the height of the Cold War.
The abundance of propaganda coming from both sides attests to the dangerous state of the crisis, Karaganov said.
“The Russian media is more reserved than Western media. Though you have to understand that Russia is very sensitive about defense. We have to be prepared for everything. That is the source of this occasionally massive amount of propaganda,” he said. “But what is the West doing? It is doing nothing but vilifying Russia; it believes that we are threatening to attack. The situation is comparable to the crisis at the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s.”
The expert was referring to a massive build-up of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe that could have easily led to an unintended nuclear war. The missiles had a very short approach time that left almost no time for an attacked side to react, making automatic retaliation the only possible reaction to a decapitating nuclear barrage. The situation was defused by a ban on intermediate-range missiles signed in 1987.