NewsBaltic nations bolster defenses amid growing threat of Russian incursion

Baltic nations bolster defenses amid growing threat of Russian incursion

Vladimir Putin may already be considering war scenarios with NATO, with the Baltic countries going first.
Vladimir Putin may already be considering war scenarios with NATO, with the Baltic countries going first.
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7:43 AM EDT, March 27, 2024
NATO countries located closest to Russia are preparing for the worst-case scenarios, increasing defense funding, strengthening their borders, and looking to the West for security guarantees in the event of Russian aggression. The uncertainty of Vladimir Putin's actions fuels their preparations.
The portal natemat.pl reports on the situation and sentiments in the Baltic countries, noting that while apprehension is widespread, panic is not. Public debate in these countries increasingly revolves around the potential for war threats.

Sulev Vedler, deputy head of the Estonian newspaper Eesti Ekspress, acknowledges the growing fear of a Russian invasion, a threat that is not new but has become more pronounced. Estonians have understood that NATO's protection, specifically Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, doesn't offer absolute safety.

Estonia has responded by planning to construct 600 bunkers along its border with Russia. The country has intensified specialized training within its military, where service is compulsory. Additionally, the Defense League (Kaitseliit), a voluntary national defense organization, has grown in membership.

The significant Russian minority in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, countries with histories of Soviet rule, could potentially serve as a pretext for Russian military intervention. This demographic factor might complicate NATO's ability to respond to any conflict originating from alleged "violations of the rights" of Russians abroad.

Baltic states build shelters amid fears of a Putin-led invasion

Former ambassador to Latvia, Jerzy Marek Nowakowski, underscores fears similar to those experienced in Crimea and Donbas, suggesting any of these countries could face similar threats. The readiness to defend the "oppressed" Russians living outside their borders is a stance Russia has maintained.

- They have mastered the art of Hybrid Warfare. It wouldn’t surprise me if they attempted to deploy it against the Baltic states, says Nowakowski to natemat.pl, highlighting his service until 2017.
Experts and former diplomats suggest that actions in the Baltic states could unfold by the end of this year or early next. With the Kremlin projected to be prepared for war with NATO within three years, Moscow's long-term preparations may commence soon.

Recent disturbances in the GPS in the Baltic region, among other phenomena, suggest Russia is already making multidimensional preparations for military activities in countries post-Ukraine.

In January, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia agreed to create a joint Baltic line of defense. According to Andris Spruds, Latvian Minister of Defense, this initiative aims to "defend the eastern flank of NATO and restrain our adversaries' freedom of movement," as shared on platform X.

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