Russia has threatened to use “nuclear force” to defend its annexation of Crimea and warned that the “same conditions” that prompted it to take military action in Ukraine exist in the three Baltic states, all members of NATO, The Independent reports.
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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.

The Russians told the meeting, which took place in Germany last month, that an attempt to return Crimea to Ukraine would be met “forcefully including through the use of nuclear force”.

According to the notes, the Russians said that “the same conditions that existed in Ukraine and caused Russia to take action there” also existed in the Baltic states, some of which have sizeable Russian-speaking minority populations.

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”.

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