“If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw, and Bucharest”, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said, according to a report in Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung on 18 September.
Vladimir Putin
© AP/Scanpix

He reportedly said it to Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko, who then told EU officials.

Other media asked Brussels, Kiev, and Moscow if Putin really made the threat, but they declined to confirm or deny.

EUobserver asked three Russian analysts if Putin could really do it.

The short answer is No.

The more realistic threat would be “hybrid warfare” - economic coercion, political subversion, and covert military action - against the Baltic states in order to split NATO on how to react.

But the long answer sheds light on the balance of power in Europe and on the psychology of the Ukraine war.

Continue reading on EUobserver.

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