From Paris, London, as well as Washington, the developments in Ukraine may appear to be the start of a new Cold War in Europe.
It appears to be much worse in the Balkan states
Russia’s bravado toward Ukraine seems to have some Estonians, Latvians, as well as Lithuanians, concerned they could be the second target. The tensions have reawakened recollections of expulsions and persecution in the past.
“My grandparents were deported to Siberia,” says the narrator. “My father was subjected to KGB repression.”
“I now live in a free democratic nation, but it appears nothing can be taken as a given,” remarked Jaunius Kazlauskas, a 50-year-old Lithuanian teacher in Vilnius.
During World War II, Stalin invaded and occupied all three Baltic republics, but they regained their independence after the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.
In 2004, they became members of NATO, putting themselves under the military assistance of the United States and its Western allies. Ukraine is not a NATO member.
Huge explosion seen in sky over Ukraine's capital Kyiv
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 25, 2022
President Biden stated two weeks before Russia’s expected attack on Ukraine that certain American forces stationed in Europe, notably 800 combat soldiers, F-35 fighter jets, and Apache helicopters, would be sent to the three Baltic republics.
In the Baltic cities, the news was greeted with delight.
While the NATO charter binds all allies to defend any member who is attacked, the Baltic states argue NATO must demonstrate its resolve not simply with words, but with boots on the ground.
“Russia always assesses not only military capability, but also a country’s willingness to fight,” said Janis Garrisons, state secretary at the Latvian Defense Ministry.
“Once they spot a flaw, they’ll take advantage of it.” Putin has not officially stated his desire to reinstate Russian rule over the Baltic states.
However, many Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians are concerned he wants to reestablish Russian authority over all former Soviet republics, which he previously described as a disaster for the Russian people.
Putin claimed Ukraine is “not just a foreign nation for us” in a statement earlier this week, setting the groundwork for Russia’s military action. It is inextricably linked to our own history, culture, and spiritual realm.”
As the UK Foreign Secretary confuses the Baltic and Black Seas, Russia mocks “Anglo-Saxon officials’ cluelessness.”
Because of their cultural and linguistic differences, the Balkan states do not have the same cultural and linguistic ties to Russian history and heritage.
Sky News has verified videos showing a car run over by a military vehicle in the Obolon district of Kyiv.
Several people surrounded the vehicle to help the person trapped, who survived the attack.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 25, 2022
They were, however, dominated by Moscow for the majority of the previous 200 years, first by the Russian Empire, then by the Soviet Union for the half-century post-World War II.
Ethnic Russian minorities exist in all three nations; in Latvia and Estonia, they account for nearly a quarter of people.
Hundreds of Russian Speakers rioted over the government’s decision to relocate a Soviet memorial site in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, in 2007, despite the fact many of them are well assimilated.
Estonia accused Russia of inciting protests and coordinating cyberattacks that brought government computer systems to a halt.