NATO Warns of Future Russian Threats

( – Russia’s army is bogged down in Ukraine, still struggling to subdue its much smaller victim almost two years into the war. It might seem like Vladimir Putin’s forces aren’t much of a threat to the much more powerful Western nations. However, a NATO leader has just warned that Russia could be ready to threaten the alliance in as little as three years.

On January 15, British newspaper The Times carried an interview with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Estonia is one of five NATO countries that lies on Russia’s restless border — and along with Latvia and Lithuania, it was actually part of the USSR, until the three Baltic states managed to break free in the early 1990s. All three have significant ethnic Russian minorities, and that makes them nervous; they’re worried that Putin could use those Russian-speaking citizens as justification for a “special military operation,” as he did in Ukraine. And Kallas thinks that could happen in the next few years.

Kallas told The Times that her country’s intelligence services are reporting that Russia sees the Baltic states as NATO’s weakest point, and could be ready to take aggressive action against them in three to five years. She also warned that when the war in Ukraine ends, or even if there’s a ceasefire, Russia will immediately start strengthening its forces along the border with NATO. That’s dangerous for the US because there are plenty of American troops in European NATO nations and they’d be on the front line against any Russian attack against the alliance’s territory.

Would Putin be bold enough to attack NATO, knowing that the North Atlantic Charter obliges all 31 member states to come to the aid of one that’s attacked? So far he’s made plenty of threats but been careful not to attack the alliance directly. However, if he succeeds in adding Ukraine (or even large parts of it) to Russia, he’s likely to gain confidence — and that could put smaller NATO members like Estonia in danger.

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