According to the British Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon, Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a “real and present danger” to countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He also said that NATO is preparing to repel any possible aggression.
Fallon admitted that the Russian leader could very well try to repeat the covert campaign he used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, but this time against other former Soviet bloc countries such as Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia. By this he means Putin’s sending irregular troops, or cyber attacks or even raising tensions with Russian minorities in nations that are seen as part of the country’s “near abroad.”
Fallon’s comments came after the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, called for the UN peacekeepers to monitor a cease-fire in east Ukraine, a proposal pro-Russia rebels said would breach a peace deal.
“I’m worried about his pressure on the Baltics, the way he is testing NATO. NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia whatever form it takes. NATO is getting ready,”
Moreover Fallon raised concerns regarding the increased Russian air activity above Britain as the of Defence announced the Royal Air Force had to escort 2 Russian long-range Bear bombers away from the south coast of England a day before. It’s the second time in many months that this happens.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius is of the opinion that Russia actually poses a threat to the wider region, Moldova included. Moldova on Wednesday chose a pro-European as prime minister.
“If we fail to react properly to what’s happening in Ukraine there will be a big temptation [for Russia] to further instigate situations elsewhere and then we will face a bigger problem,”
The Defence Secretary’s comments are at loggerheads with those told by the former MI6 Chief. On Monday he said that building up political and military pressure on Putin could determine change of Kremlin leadership which is likely to be for the worse.
Nevertheless chances are that the action taken by Western governments regarding the crisis in Ukraine is likely to provoke Putin, and thus lead to a deeper crisis in the area.