Estonian spy agency: Russia poses ‘credible’ threat to Baltic states
An intelligence chief has claimed that Putin has ambitions beyond Ukraine
Russia is capable of exerting “credible military pressure” on its Baltic neighbours, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS) claimed in its annual report this week. According to the EFIS, Estonia’s equivalent of MI6, while Russia is currently focusing its military efforts in Ukraine, it still poses a medium- and long-term security risk to the Baltic states, which also comprise Latvia and Lithuania. All three are members of NATO and the European Union, and have ramped up their military spending since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
“Russia’s belligerence and foreign policy ambitions have significantly increased security risks for Estonia,” the report states, acknowledging that the Baltic nations are “the most vulnerable part of NATO, which would make them a focus of military pressure in the event of a NATO-Russia conflict”. Indeed, “in the case of diplomatic and/or military success in the Ukraine issue, Russia will intensify political and military pressure on the Baltic states in the mid-2020s.”
Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email
Already registered? Sign in
Fears are growing due to the increasing number of Russian military exercises on the country’s western border. Russia’s upcoming ‘Zapad 2023’ strategic exercise has been brought forward by two years, and the EFIS suggests that the country’s military presence could be “quantitatively restored in the immediate vicinity of the Estonian border in up to four years”. Prior to the invasion, Russia had as many as 30,000 troops on its western flank, though many have since been re-located to fight in Ukraine. Still, its military presence remains a threat. Giving an interview in Tallinn this week following the publication of the report, EFIS Director General Kaupo Rosin said:
In a separate interview, Rosin claimed that the “Russian Federation’s ambition is to create a completely new security situation in Europe”. One of Putin’s methods in gaining influence abroad is by way of the Russian Orthodox Church, which the EFIS chief labelled a “propaganda tool” that is used to stir up anti-Western feeling in branches of the Church in the three Baltic states, as well as Poland. “[The church’s] activities are quite crafty,” Rosin added.
Last year’s EFIS report predicted that Putin was “ready for war with Ukraine”, and that an invasion would come in February 2022. While Rosin argued in the 2023 report that “Russia has so far failed in its war of aggression”, he also conceded that “there is still enough fuel for the war machine — Russia will not soon run out of cannon fodder”. This is in striking contrast to the insistence of Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, last November that Putin’s army was running out of both munitions and troops.
The threat posed to the Baltic states, and the rest of Europe, is not likely to diminish when Putin’s time in office ends. Rosin writes in the EFIS report that “a new Gorbachev […] does not appear on the horizon. The democratic world should not create illusions that post-Putin Russia will soon embrace democratic values”.
Should Russia achieve its strategic aims in Ukraine, the likelihood of conflict with NATO member states would be greatly increased. Estonia and its neighbours are expected to be the first point of contact for this potential conflict. It is clear, Rosin writes, that “Ukraine’s victory in the war against Russia would also improve regional security”.
Speaking to UnHerd today, an EFIS representative said:
But I thought the party line was that the Russian army is being destroyed in the Ukraine
They’re certainly taking major losses – particularly in officers (the backbone of the Russian army, since they don’t have an effective non-com layer, the way most Western militaries do). They seem to have already lost more people in Ukraine than they did in their whole time in Afghanistan.
I do think there might be something to the charge that the West is giving the Ukrainians enough support to ‘bleed’ Russia, without provoking a spread of the conflict. The Ukrainians are paying a terrible price, though.
Putin has already overextended his military forces in one conflict I can’t believe he has the capacity to take on anyone else particularly a NATO member.
A logical next step, if Putin wins.
Right now the Baltic is completely dominated by NATO or NATO friendly nations. For someone like Putin, who tries to go walking around in Peter the Great’s boots (far too big, BTW), the next target has to be the Baltic nations.
And just because he’s stopped in Ukraine doesn’t mean he won’t try somewhere else. He attacked Syria because he’d failed in Ukraine. That in turn made his real goal, the Eurasian Economic Union impossible.
He’ll keep trying to recreate some part of the Soviet Union/Russian Empire until he dies.
That’s his “destiny.”
Come on Martin, take an aspirin and have a lie down you’re driving yourself crazy. The Eurasian Economic Union is not impossible as all those involved have worked out who their friends are and have decided that the belligerent West do not count among them.
The Europeans have only themselves just discovered that they are just cannon fodder as well and are stuck like the rabbit in the spotlight and can’t quite believe what is happening to them. It is a Wily E Coyote moment for them but gravity will rule the day. What they do about it remains to be seen.
yeah Putin attacked Syria
Saved it from ISIS more like
Very hard to say what would have happened in Syria if the Russians hadn’t stepped in to support Assad. Their support made him willing to come down on the opposition; and once that happened, people swung to the Islamic hard-core, who were ready to go kinetic.
Hmm the RUSSIAN Orthodox church is spreading anti-western sentiments… Well good thing someone is ringing the alarm bell on that bombshell, otherwise who knows what they could do.
Also, that final quote is hilarious coming from a NATO member after Merkels admissions/justifications regarding the Minsk accords.
FUC**NG WAITING FOR APPROVAL
SHADOW-BANNING! JUST BAN ME, QUIT THE COWARDLY CENSORING OF A THIRD OF WHAT I SAY. THIS PLACE IS LIKE THE OLD TWITTER.
If so, it’s posting like ‘the old Twitter’ that makes it so.
It’s a laugh really. Like the runt of the gang picking a fight thinking the big guys will pull them out of the shit. Perhaps a good idea would be not to get into the shit in the first place. Donate another ten F-16s that you don’t have like the other 10 you have recently announced. I’m sure that will help. Maybe even keep these “planes’ for your own use. Are these people for real?
America is not your friend and looks like it has bitten off way more than it can chew. It would be a good idea to stand back a bit.
You are nothing more than Sovietskaya scatina.
I don’t think that Putin is all that interested in sitting down to negotiate anything at all. He has been involved in many negotiations in the past where his opponents have lied and deceived him to the point that there is no way that he would trust anything that they would say. They treat him like an imbecile so why would he bother?
Putin’s pretty good at lying himself. Remember his insistence, a few days before the invasion of Ukraine, that he had no intention of doing such a thing?
Well, he only imitated Walter Ulbricht in 1961: nobody has the intent to build a wall.
Join the discussion
To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.
Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.Subscribe