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RUSSIA could launch an invasion in eastern Europe within “hours”, Poland and the Baltic states fear, amid an escalation in tensions between Nato and the Kremlin.
Deployments along Russia’s western border have increased in recent months, worrying Nato and its allies that the movements could be a cover for another Crimea-style land grab.
Asked about the likelihood of Russian aggression, Lithuania’s Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said: “We cannot exclude it … They might exercise on the borders and then switch to invasion in hours.”
Russia has held unannounced exercises on the borders of the Baltics, including one in 2014 which mustered 100,000 troops, according to Danish Colonel Jakob Sogard Larsen, who heads the new Nato command outpost in Lithuania.
Lithuanian authorities have also accused Russia of trying to buy off Lithuanian soldiers and business people to become spies for the Kremlin, intimidating diplomats and spreading disinformation on the Internet and television.
Nato officials have privately warned that Russia is using so-called snap exercises to gather troops along Europe’s eastern flank.
Russia has carried out at least a dozen of the military exercises, called at short or no notice, over the past two years.
Defence chiefs at the Belgium-based alliance fear they could be a front for preparations leading to a massing of troops along Europe’s border.
Full article: Russia could INVADE Europe ‘in hours’ Baltic states issue shock warning over Putin’s plans (Express)