LONDON: Russia is highly likely to intervene in the Baltic states to test NATO’s collective defence commitment, the former head of the Atlantic alliance was quoted as saying by Britain’s Daily Telegraph on Friday.
“This is not about Ukraine. Putin wants to restore Russia to its former position as a great power,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the daily.
“There is a high probability that he will intervene in the Baltics to test NATO’s Article 5,” he said, referring to the clause that commits NATO to respond collectively if a member is attacked.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that if he crosses the red line and attacks a NATO ally, he will be defeated. Let us be quite clear about that. But he is a specialist in hybrid warfare,” he said.
Rasmussen also called for increased defence spending in Europe, saying: “The situation is critical”.
“We learned in the Libyan crisis that Europe is totally reliant on the Americans for air-refueling, drones and communications intelligence. We don’t have air transport. It is really bad,” he said.
Full article: Ex-NATO chief Fogh Rasmussen says Russia likely to act in Baltics: Reports (Economic Times)