Report: Russia Threatens Nuclear Showdown Over the Baltic Republics

Military parade in Moscow, May 9, 2014From Ian Johnston, The Independent: According to notes made by an American at a meeting between Russian generals and US officials – and seen by The Times newspaper – Moscow threatened a “spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” if Nato moved more forces into Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Russia was considering taking steps in the Baltics, according to the notes, but this would most likely be “destabilising actions that would be even harder to trace back to Russia than those of eastern Ukraine….”

“Russia would hope slowly to entice those Russian populations towards Russia without giving Nato a pretext to deploy troops,” the document adds.

If Nato then responded, that would make it “a potential co-aggressor against Russian-speaking minorities in Baltic states”, a situation described as “potentially more dangerous than that in Ukraine to the United States”.

From Ben Hoyle, The Times (London):  The Russian delegation said that any NATO build-up in the Baltics would prompt an increase in Russia’s “nuclear posture”, according to notes drawn up by a US participant. The warning is baldly recounted: “Russia will use its nuclear weapons against NATO….”

Russia regards the US as an ailing superpower which is trying to create crisis situations to preserve its position of strategic superiority around the world. NATO expansion to the borders of Russia, including “NATO troop deployments in eastern Europe and the Balkans” could lead to unpredictable situations. “For nuclear powers, this is particularly dangerous.”

The Russian delegation was briefed by Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, about what messages to deliver to the Americans, according to its leader, Anatoly Kulikov, the former minister of the interior. Mr Kulikov said that Mr Putin had been briefed.

Image: Military parade in Moscow, May 9, 2014 (photo: Office of the President of Russia)