Putin a Threat to Baltic States, Western Officials Say

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dec. 8, 2014Senior Western officials accused Russia on Thursday of redrawing the map of Europe by force and posing a threat to the Baltic states.

Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president of the European Commission, said a stronger NATO presence was needed on the alliance’s borders.

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is very worrying for Baltic states,” Dombrovskis, a former prime minister of Latvia, said at an event in London.

“It shows that Russia is looking to redraw Europe’s 21st century borders by force, and it must be noted that Ukraine is not the first country to face Russia’s aggression….”

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said Russia posed a threat to the wider region, including Moldova, which on Wednesday chose a pro-European businessman as prime minister.

Russia is behaving aggressively now as we speak,” he told BBC radio. “I really do see threats to all countries…If we fail to react properly to what’s happening in Ukraine, there will be a big temptation (for Russia) to further instigate situations elsewhere.”

Latvian finance minister Janis Reirs told Reuters his country had detected elements of “hybrid warfare” in the past year and was aware that Moscow could try to use the Baltics to destabilise Europe.

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dec. 8, 2014 (photo: Office of the President of Russia)