A German newspaper is reporting that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently told the European Commission that Putin privately threatened to not only continue his onslaught in Ukraine, but to also invade Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia!
“If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest,” Mr Putin allegedly told President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, reported Süddeustche Zeitung, a German newspaper.
You might not buy this story because it’s from one agitator (Ukraine’s President) against another (Putin) … but the story gains more credence when you realize that Putin recently said something similar to the president of the European Commission when he said, “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.” Putin made the threats during a series of phone calls between the two leaders about the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
As you can expect, the nations of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania are all intensely worried about the plans of the Russian leader. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have all felt the wrath of Russia’s foreign policies – Georgia and Ukraine have both been invaded by Russia directly… and Moldova has enjoyed Russian interference in their internal politics for years. Knowing this, it’s understandable that the Baltic States would be nervous about Russia’s plans.
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It was with that in mind that President Obama recently made a trip to Estonia for a meeting with the rest of the NATO conference to reassure the Baltic Nations that the USA (and NATO) would not forget our friends.
“If you ever ask again ‘Who will come to help?’ you’ll know the answer: the Nato alliance, including the armed forces of the United States of America,” he said. “We’ll be here for Estonia. We will be here for Latvia. We will be here for Lithuania.”
But Putin had already addressed the possibility of NATO’s impact with Poroshenko.
Mr Putin also warned Mr Poroshenko not to put too much faith in the EU, saying that Russia could exert its influence and bring about a “blocking minority” among member states.
I’m not sure what to make of all of this. Vladimir Putin is a bad guy and yes, he’s probably at least a touch insane too… but is his crazy enough to touch off WW III in Eastern Europe? I don’t think so. The Baltic States, Poland and Ukraine have all signaled their intention to fight back if attacked, and all of those nations are now tied to either NATO, the European Union or both. If Russia invades again, this conflict will get much bigger than just Russia and a couple of small Eastern European democracies.
Whatever happens next, this is definitely something to keep an eye on. A situation like this could escalate quickly and make us all forget about the problems in the Middle East.
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