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It is noted that Putin has already had army exercises in the area and indications there has been some softening up de-stabilisation work done in Estonia.
Putin has never made any secret of his desire to re-establish Russian hegemony across much of the old Soviet Empire. That was why he reacted so negatively to attempts to woo Ukraine into the EU economic zone and maybe even NATO.
The US has never ratified the annexation of Crimea, but Trump has already said he'd do so. And he's talked about NATO only being invoked on behalf of countries which pay in, suggesting that the Baltic states have no strategic value and so can be shaken down for protection money. Which I doubt they could afford, so Trump is effectively signing off on invasion
And Putin wants them. So.....
Now we have Poland, which would totally freak out and you have all the ingredients for unpleasantness before February 2017.
Except, of ocurse, Trump ain't gonna win, so Putin won't do anything
keep to the Fen Causeway
The Russian and NATO maneuvers I'd classify as the usual primate flinging of fecal matter.
The main reason why I don't take the threat of a Russian invasion seriously is as follows:
Not knowing Russian I can't say anything with any confidence about Putin's statements about re establishing the old Empire. However he has been in power for decades and I haven't seen any reckless expansionism into the old Russian sphere of influence. When Georgia attacked the Russians didn't do any land grabs nor really meddled in the local government. When they were faced with the prospect of being turfed out of the Black Sea they grabbed the real estate around their base. They didn't set the old president on a tank and drove into Kiev nor did they annex the east. The latest Russian involvement is in Syria which shares with the above being militarily low risk and in defense of strategic assets(Tartus in this case).
Given this history I consider it really unlikely that the Russians even want the Baltics. As far as I know they are strategically worthless, the population is dominantly hostile toward Russia, whatever strategic resources they hold are a rounding error compared to Russia's reserves and the military operation would hold unprecedented risks compared to anything Putin ever ordered. I'm not sanguine about possible successors but I'm reasonable sure that Putin is the kind of calculating evil that won't risk blowing up the world to grab a few square miles of Baltic real estate.
And there's a long way to go till November
keep to the Fen Causeway
It has the nukes. That guarantees territorial integrity.
It doesn't prevent the EU from just blowing the entire Russian air force out of the sky if it crosses into the EU with hostile intent, nor from unloading the umpteen thousand tanks that the EU keeps around from a railhead in Poland and rolling the red army back across the border.
Considering that Russia has not gobbled up small states where they already has a military presence, like Georgia, or the eastern ukrainian republics that asked to be annexed by Russia, I don't see where the whole "Russia will annex the Baltics" comes from. Other then projection and Rysskräck from the West, that is.
I also have my doubts about Russian designs on the Baltics, for all the reasons mentioned in other comments. It just makes no sense.
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