It would be an understatement to say that Russia is posing a big threat to the Baltic states if one compares the political and military stands taken by Kremlin over Syria, Turkey or Ukraine. The political pressure is building up and this possible attack cannot be ignored.
Russian has a powerful military presence in the world at this moment so if once considers the fact that all three Baltic States—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are isolated from other NATO members, an invasion may happen sooner than later.
The Baltic states restored their independence with the strategic goal of integrating with Western Europe. In 2002 the Baltic nations applied to become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU).
Subsequently, the states gained NATO’s membership 29 March 2004, and successfully joined the EU on 1 May 2004.
As the fear of Russia’s invasion grows, the Baltic States are currently the only former-Soviet states that have joined NATO and EU.
Image: Baltic States Political Map.
“It would be extremely difficult, but not impossible, for NATO to respond to an incident in the Baltic region without the acquiescence of non-NATO Finland and Sweden, Heritage asserted.
“Russia knows this—and exploits this weakness to its advantage.
The U.S. must plan for any contingency in the Baltic region, including one that sees Finland and Sweden refusing to acquiesce to a NATO request for support in a time of war,” the report added.
General Sir Richard Shirreff served as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe between 2011 and 2014. He warned that a possible attack on Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia – all NATO Members – should not be taken for granted. His advice is that the West should act right now to avoid a nuclear war.
Sir Richard’s fictional book discussed details of the 2017 War with Russia with BBC during which he said it’s “entirely plausible”.
In his words, General Shirreff said: “The chilling fact is that because Russia hardwires nuclear thinking and capability to every aspect of their defence capability, this would be nuclear war.
“We need to judge President Putin by his deeds not his words,” he added. “He has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it.
“In a period of tension, an attack on the Baltic states… is entirely plausible.”
Article 5 brings hope of security to the Baltic states. In line with NATO’s founding treaty which assures that member states would be much obliged to fight in defense of another, if under attack – Russia not excluded.
General Shirreff said that Mr. Putin could be tempted to strike the Baltic by a “perception” that NATO is a toothless dog. This happened before and another followed. For instance, in the attack on Crimea, the Russian president defended his motives behind the invasion as an act of defence. The reason was to protect the large Russian-speaking minorities in those countries.
Although NATO is struggling to step up military defences in the Baltic states, one person who doesn’t believe the alliance is doing enough is General Shirreff. He has advised NATO to “raise the bar sufficiently high for any aggressor to say it is not worth the risk.”
“I would argue the bar is not high enough at the moment,” he added.