Russian President Vladimir Putin and the security forces surrounding him have their eyes on the Baltics. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were once part of the Soviet Union and an important access point for the Russian navy to the Baltic Sea. In fact, Russia still maintains control of a small territory next to the Baltics, Kaliningrad.
With the Russian involvement in Ukraine and the invasion of Crimea, NATO has been extremely worried that the Baltics are next. The alliance has been parading American armor across Eastern Europe in response to the Russian threat. NATO promises to not station alliance forces permanently along the border states with Russia; however, these new forces are to be “rotated” to get around this restriction.
NATO believes that Russia no longer deserves this consideration since they have actively invaded their neighbor in Ukraine.
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It seems the Russian military and political establishment wants the West to know that forces stationed in the Baltics are a no-no. The Independent reports,
Russia has threatened to use “nuclear force” to defend its annexation of Crimea and warned that the “same conditions” that prompted it to take military action in Ukraine exist in the three Baltic states, all members of Nato.
According to notes made by an American at a meeting between Russian generals and US officials – and seen by The Timesnewspaper – Moscow threatened a “spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” if Nato moved more forces into Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
The Russians told the meeting, which took place in Germany last month, that an attempt to return Crimea to Ukraine would be met “forcefully including through the use of nuclear force.”
The Russian military still cannot compete with NATO conventionally. Nuclear weapons are another story. Russia relies on its nuclear offensive and deterrent capability and is now rattling that saber in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.
The problem for the United States and our NATO allies is that our president does not care about Europe. It’s not on his radar.
He’s much more concerned about allowing the Muslim caliphate to flourish in the Middle East. Hence the snubbing of the NATO ambassador recently in Washington. We are in dangerous times indeed.
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