A lot has changed over the past few years. Change can be good; change can be bad. Let’s take an up to date look at the militarycapabilities of the European Union and Russia in the year 2020. The last time we looked at these two militariesit ended up being a draw, with no clear victor, but has time changed that outcome? Is Russia more formidable now than a few yearsago? I guess you’re just going to have to keepwatching to find out how a war between the European Union and Russia would end. .
First let’s look at the amount of moneythe two countries are pumping into their militaries. As we know, the European Union is in tumultuoustimes. Brexit has been passed, so technically Britain’smilitary assets went with it. It is probably safe to say that if the EuropeanUnion went to war with Russia, Britain would likely join the side of the EU. But what if they decide not to? What if the United Kingdom wants to stay outof any armed conflict? For argument's sake, we will be keeping Britainand its assets out of this comparison. The European Union spends around 270 billiondollars on their military. .
This is nowhere near as much as the UnitedStates, but it is a significant amount. Russia on the other hand, has a military budgetof around 65 billion dollars.The European Union seems to be investing more money intheir military- however, just because more money is being pumped into a military, doesnot make it better. The European Union is facing the challengesthat come with many different countries and cultures trying to work together under a setof laws. This can lead to inefficiency and waste. However, a unified Russia under the controlof a dictator, can make decisions very quickly. It can be argued that this makes things, likebuilding a military, more efficient. .
Money aside, let’s take a look at the actualcapabilities of each military. We will start with ground forces since theEuropean Union and Russia share a border. If a land invasion occurred, who would havethe upper hand? The answer might surprise you. Currently, the European Union has over 3.8million personnel. Only 1.5 million are active, leaving around2.3 million soldiers in reserves. However, if war broke out between the EU andRussia, everyone would be expected to fight. Russia has around 1 million active militarypersonnel and 2 million in reserve. So, Russia has a slightly smaller militarywhen it comes to man power. .
This isn’t surprising since there are around446 million people living in the European Union, and only about 146 million people livingin Russia. Just in sheer numbers, the European Unionhas a slight advantage. But what if the full might of the Russianground forces were to sweep across the border into Europe? What would Europe need to prepare itself for? It has been well established that Russia hasthe largest tank force in the world. The Russian military consists of around 12,950tanks. This is almost double the number that theEuropean Union has. .
One of the most powerful Russian tanks isthe T-14 Armata. This 55 ton beast has an 125 millimeter smoothborecannon mounted on it, and carries up to 45 rounds. Its powerful engines allow the T-14 to reacha top speed of 56 miles per hour. Most of the Russian tank force is made upof older models, but the T-14 is a formidable tank. The large number of armored vehicles thatthe Russian military has at its disposal, even if they are older, could allow the countryto dominate the land battles if war broke out with Europe. .
The European Union is not totally defenselesswhen it comes to tank warfare. Both Germany and France have state of theart tank arsenals. Germany has the Leopard 2A5 tank, which hasa 120 millimeter smoothbore cannon with 42 rounds, and it can travel up to 42 miles perhour. France has the Leclerc tank, which also hasan 120 millimeter cannon and can hold up to 40 rounds. The Leclerc can travel 44 miles per hour oneven terrain. Both of these tanks are powerful, yet theT-14 has a larger cannon and can move faster. In a one on one fight between the tanks, theT-14 seems to have the upper hand. .
Also, the Russian tank army in general hasmore vehicles. If the only fighting to happen in war betweenthe European Union and Russia was tank warfare, Europe would be in trouble. In today’s day and age an entire battlecan be won or lost in the skies.. The best way to maintain air superiority isto have the best tech and pilots possible. Let’s see how the European Union’s airforce stacks up against Russia’s. Again in terms of just numbers, Russia hasthe advantage. Russia’s air force contains around 4,160aircraft. This includes everything from fighter jetsto helicopters. .
However, like with their tanks, many of theaircrafts consist of the Cold War Soviet Union machinery that was built up in the 1950’sand 60’s. The European Union’s air force is made upof around 2,450 aircraft. Russia has almost double the number of aircraftas the European Union yet again. But Europe has access to two of the most deadlyfighter planes on the planet. The French made Dassault Rafale is able tohold its own in the skies in any dogfight or escort mission. However, it is the Eurofighter Typhoon thatis the crown jewel of the EU’s air force. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a collaborationbetween Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain. .
It is often ranked in the top ten of the mostdeadly fighter jets, and is one of the European Union’s greatest assets in air to air combat. However, Russia also has their own highlyeffective fighter jets. Both the Sukhoi Su-3 and the new Mikoyan MiG-35would give the Eurofighter Typhoon a run for its money. The Russian air force also has the TupolevTu-160 Blackjack at their disposal, which as far as bombers go, can deliver massiveamounts of damage across large distances. It is because of the larger number of aircraft,as well as competitive fighter jets and bombers, that Russia also has a slight advantage inair combat over the European Union. .
At this point you may be surprised by Russia’supper hand in land and air combat. What about navies though? After all, entire wars have been fought andwon on the high seas. Each navy has around 600 ships at their disposal. However, some vessels are more important andpowerful than others. Let’s be clear, a naval battle between theEuropean Union and Russia seems unlikely, since Russia and Europe share a border ofaround 1,300 miles. It is much more likely that a war betweenthe two militaries would take place on land and in the air. .
But for argument’s sake, let’s take alook at how their Navy’s stack up. One of the most powerful naval vessels inany war is the aircraft carrier. They are like floating fortresses that containminiature armies. Russia has one operational aircraft carrierat this point in time. The European Union has four between threeof the countries in the pact. France and Spain both have one aircraft carrierwhile Italy has two. The U.K. also has two, but since they decidedto leave the European Union, we cannot count those on the EU’s side. Even still, the European Union holds the highernumber of aircraft carriers. .
Both the European Union and Russia have around60 subs. Although, Russia has 33 nuclear submarines,while France, which is the only country in the European Union with nuclear submarines,only has 5. This is a clear advantage for Russia. Again, a naval confrontation between the EuropeanUnion and Russia seems unlikely, but if something were to happen Russia would have the advantagewith over 6 times more nuclear submarines than the European Union. This brings us to the scariest weapons inmodern warfare, the nuke. In nuclear warfare having more missiles doesnot necessarily mean you are more powerful. .
The European Union has around 290 nuclearwarheads. That is enough to wipe out every major Russiancity, and much of the life in Asia and Europe. Russia has 1,326 deployed nuclear missilesand another 6,375 that are in reserve or being decommissioned. That is enough to pretty much wipe all humanlife off of the face of the planet. Either way, nuclear warfare will never endin a victory. The radiation, chemicals, and debris thatwould be swept across the planet would ensure that everyone loses in a nuclear war. We also know that in today’s warfare, controlof intelligence is important. .
Russia has an advantage on two fronts in thisaspect. Ever since the launch of Sputnik I on October4, 1957, Russia has had an ongoing space program. In fact, up until very recently, the UnitedStates was piggybacking off of the Russian space program to get astronauts to the InternationalSpace Station. Compared to the European Union there is nocontest, Russia has dominance in space. This would be important in all out war becauseof satellite control for reconnaissance and communication. It is only a matter of time before space becomesmilitarized. Russia is in a much better position to takeadvantage of the militarization of space. .
All you have to do is look at the latest spacemissions for each agency. The most recent manned mission to space forRussia was the Soyuz MS-16 mission which launched on April, 9 2020. The last European manned mission to spacewas… never. The European Union has never launched theirown rocket with a crew on it to space. Needless to say, Russia has a much more advancedspace program. The other modern warfare component that Russialeads in is cyber warfare. It is no secret that Russia has conductedhacking operations into several countries' classified databases. .
Just recently they stole secret intelligencefrom the Ukranian government, before applying pressure to their border. Russian hackers also have stolen millionsof dollars from organizations around the world. Hacking groups may be independent from theRussian government, but oftentimes they are working in cahoots. Take the 2016 United States presidential electionsfor instance. After several high profile investigations,it was concluded that Russian hackers were actively trying to influence the presidentialelection, and may have successfully done so. Russia has a long history of cyber warfare,while the European Union seems less engaged .
In this aspect of war. So, we can conclude that in terms of warfarein cyberspace and outer space that Russia has the upper hand. This would give them better intelligence andmay allow Russia to cripple the European Union without even firing a shot. If Russia takes control of the EU’s satellites,and shuts down their internet capability, Europe could literally be in the dark. Does this mean that Russia would win in awar between itself and the European Union? Probably not. .
There is one more war ending weapon that theEuropean Union has on its side, an alliance with the United States of America. In our scenario we were comparing the militariesof the European Union and Russia by themselves. However, if war ever broke out between thetwo powers, allies would come to their aid. The European Union is part of The North AtlanticTreaty Organization, or NATO for short. This alliance includes 30 countries, one ofwhich is the United States. The United States and China are the only superpowersin the world, and have the largest and most advanced military at this moment in time. If the European Union went to war with Russia,the United States would have to join them .
Because of the NATO alliance. Russia would not be able to win a war againstthe combined militaries of the European Union and the United States. It would be game over. Russia does have alliances with other countries,and could call on them to help support their war effort. However, the only alliance, which ends upbeing tenuous at best, is the Collective Security Treaty Organization. This is an intergovernmental alliance betweenRussia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, .
And Tajikistan. Even with the support of their allies, Russiawould still be no match for the combined strength of the European Union and the United States. When it comes down to it, if the EuropeanUnion and Russia went head to head, it would be close. Russia has a slight advantage in terms ofland and air forces. They also have a strong position for the futureof warfare in space and online. However, since the European Union is a partof NATO, if war broke out the United States would come to their aid. .
In this scenario there is no doubt that theEuropean Union and its allies would decimate the Russian military. In a war without allies though, Russia stillreigns supreme in Europe as the top military power, and Europe could do little to defeatRussia in war. Now check out Russia VS United States (USA)- Who Would Win – Military Comparison 2019. Or watch another military comparison by clickingUSA vs IRAN: Who Would Win? – Military / Army Comparison 2019