If the Russian economy collapses and is not capable of opposing the West, the final card left on the table for Russia will be its recently modernized armed forces. If this happens, Russia could attempt to “break” NATO through the Baltics. The expansion of military activities in Ukraine’s East has been a huge mistake, and Russia does not know how to get out of this situation anymore. Resistance by the Ukrainian side was much larger than Russia expected, and this means that if Russia wants to continue its assault on Ukraine, it will have to openly send in its regular forces. This would automatically mean new sanctions imposed by the West. However, Vladimir Putin has cultivated his image to a point where he cannot afford to back down, the current advisor to the Latvian defense minister and former head of the Latvian Constitutional Protection Bureau Jānis Kažociņš points out.
- Are the Baltics reacting accordingly to Russian threats?
We alone cannot ensure our defense. This is a lesson we learned in 1939 and 1940, when Latvia’s defense spending was at a level 27% of GDP. This was a huge contribution towards defense at the time – Latvia had a large number of soldiers and reserves, but this was not enough and we were forced to submit to the Soviet Union. Collective defense is the best option, and we can feel safe at the moment. But this is not enough. We must ourselves continue to invest in our defense capabilities.
Of course, we must also look at the political backdrop, as the propaganda war directed against the Baltics is at a very serious level. Media outlets controlled by the Russian authorities are attempting to convince the Baltic people and its allies that the region cannot be defended and that sooner or later the Baltics will return to Russia’s sphere of influence. They are trying to convince us that our economy is weak, that we are discriminating against the Russian community and that there is a revival of fascism in the region. At the same time, Russia is also trying to convince Baltic allies that there is no use trying to defend the region and that Article 5 of the NATO Treaty will not work here. However, the leaders of the Baltics’ strategic allies, the United States and Germany, have made it completely clear that they will not allow the region to be attacked.
- Are the Baltics even capable of solving its security problems with Russia without the involvement of the U.S.?
The United States is a very serious source of support for the Baltics and Western Europe. This is why Russia’s foreign policy and propaganda is directed against the United States. An additional objective is to create a divide between Eastern Europe and Western Europe. Furthermore, Russia is also attempting to break-off the Western world from such countries as Brazil, China, India and South Africa. Russia’s foreign policy in these countries is very different than in the West. This is proven by the participation of the leaders of these countries in May 9 events in Moscow, while almost every Western leader shunned the events.
Full article: Former Spy Chief: Russia could “break” NATO through the Baltics (Defense Matters)