Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised international questions about President Vladimir Putin’s objectives. Some world leaders believe Putin has his sights set on the Baltic states and is trying to re-establish the former Soviet Union.
Biden: Putin aims to re-establish USSR
“He [Putin] has much larger ambitions than Ukraine,” President Joe Biden said during a news conference about the war. “He wants to, in fact, re-establish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about.”
The Baltic states, consisting of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are in Northeastern Europe, South of the Baltic Sea.
Fifteen socialist republics were under Russian control during World War II, including The Baltics.
Timeline of Baltic independence from the Soviet Union
Mar. 11, 1990: Lithuania becomes the first Soviet republic to declare its independence.
May 3, 1990: Latvia declares independence.
Aug. 21, 1991: Estonia declares independence.
Dec. 25, 1991: The Soviet Union collapses.
Why does Putin want the Baltics?
Decades later, the Baltic countries share borders with Russia, Belarus, Poland, and the Russian province of Kaliningrad. While the Baltics and Poland are members of NATO, Belarus and Kaliningrad are not.
Stephen Hadley, a former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush said the lack of strong NATO allies in the region makes this situation problematic.
“My concern would be, for example, if Putin succeeds in what he is doing in Ukraine, he would decide it would be great to connect Kaliningrad back up with Russia via Belarus,” Hadley said. “And that means taking territory from Poland and Lithuania. That means a threat to NATO.”
Will an invasion of the Baltics cause the next World War?
Since the Baltics are a part of NATO, if Russia invades a NATO country, that would violate Article 5 of the NATO alliance, which states “an armed attack against one or more of them…shall be considered an attack against them all.”
“That means war,” Hadley said. “This is a very serious moment for Europe, and I think they are increasingly seeing it that way.”
JIMMIE: AS RUSSIA WAGES WAR AGAINST UKRAINE, INTERNATIONAL CONCERNS GROW ABOUT PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN’S RETURN OF THE OLD GUARD.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “He [Putin] has much larger ambitions than Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about.”
JIMMIE: THIS IS WHERE THE BALTIC STATES COME INTO PLAY.
WHAT ARE THEY? AND, WHY THEY MAY BE PUTIN’S NEXT POWER GRAB?
LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.
FOR STARTERS, THE BALTIC STATES IS A REGION LOCATED IN NORTHEASTERN EUROPE, SOUTH OF THE BALTIC SEA, CONSISTING OF THREE COUNTRIES:
ESTONIA, LATVIA AND LITHUANIA.
DURING WORLD WAR TWO, A TOTAL OF 15 SOCIALIST REPUBLICS WERE UNDER RUSSIAN RULE, INCLUDING THE BALTICS.
THAT’S UNTIL THEY DECIDED TO BREAK AWAY FROM THE SOVIET UNION.
ON MARCH 11, 1990, LITHUANIA BECAME THE FIRST SOVIET REPUBLIC TO DECLARE ITS INDEPENDENCE.
TWO MONTHS LATER, LATVIA ASSERTS ITS FREEDOM AND A YEAR LATER, ESTONIA.
SHORTLY AFTER, THE SOVIET UNION COLLAPSED.
TODAY, THE BALTIC COUNTRIES SHARE BORDERS WITH RUSSIA, BELARUS, POLAND, AND THE RUSSIAN PROVINCE OF KALININGRAD.
WHILE THE BALTICS AND POLAND ARE MEMBERS OF NATO, BELARUS AND KALININGRAD ARE NOT.
IN AN INTERVIEW ON FOX NEWS, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH SAYS THAT CAN PROVE PROBLEMATIC.
HADLEY: “Kaliningrad is detached from the rest of Russia by Belarus but also by Poland and Lithuania. My concern would be, for example, if Putin succeeds in what he is doing in Ukraine he would decide it would be great to connect Kaliningrad back up with Russia via Belarus and that means taking territory from Poland and Lithuania. That means a threat to NATO”
JIMMIE: BECAUSE IF RUSSIA INVADES A NATO COUNTRY, THAT WOULD VIOLATE ARTICLE FIVE OF THE NATO ALLIANCE WHICH STATES, “AN ARMED ATTACK AGAINST ONE OR MORE OF THEM… SHALL BE CONSIDERED AN ATTACK AGAINST THEM ALL.”
HADLEY: “That means war. This is a very serious moment for Europe and I think they are increasingly seeing it in that way.”
JIMMIE: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS PUTIN’S GOAL? TO RETURN RUSSIA TO ITS GLORY DAYS? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.