Tough to say, but it would be a horrific event.
Hell: How Many Millions Would Die In a NATO-Russia War?
If a war were to breakout in the Baltics between Russian and NATO, it might ultimately be irrelevant what the conventional balance is on the ground. “The other problem with the fixation on conventional deterrence in the Baltic fight is that just as in the old standoff between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, this battle is fraught with opportunities for nuclear escalation,” Kofman wrote. “Most Russian experts I know in the military analysis community, including those in Russia, don’t see much of a chance for conventional battle with NATO to stay conventional.”
How would a war between Russia and NATO in the Baltics play out?
Chances of a Russian invasion of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia appear fairly remote. Even the RAND Corporation, which has been particularly hawkish, suggests that a Russian attack on a NATO member-state is low even though the alliance faces a conventional imbalance. “Our analysis suggests that NATO’s deterrent against a conventional attack by Russia on a NATO member is currently strong,” a recent RAND report states. “While we assess that a Russian attack on NATO in the near term is highly unlikely, it also seems probable that Russia will explore other avenues to signal its displeasure with ongoing U.S. and NATO posture enhancements.”
(This first appeared in late 2017.)