NATO’s newest members are nervous.
Troops are being trained up and reinforced. A new “spearhead force” is in the works. Fighter jets are scrambling. Military maneuvering is ramping up amid mounting concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin will broaden his gaze beyond Crimea and Ukraine to the Baltic nations.
Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president of the European Commission, warned that Russia was redrawing the map of Europe by force. Britain’s Defense Secretary Michael Fallon last week said there was a “real and present danger” Russia’s president would seek to destabilize Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — all small NATO members with enough legitimate issues of disenfranchisement among their Russian minorities to make them prime potential targets for any Putin push.
Lithuania moved to reintroduce the military draft this week, days after its foreign minister warned Russia was “behaving aggressively” and posed a threat to countries beyond Ukraine.