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A Russian official has warned that alleged discrimination against Russian-speaking minorities in the Baltic states “may have far-reaching, unfortunate consequences,” fueling jitters that Moscow may seek to stoke tensions there as the Ukrainian crisis continues to fester.
Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry’s human rights ombudsman, told a conference in the Latvian capital of Riga on Saturday that “entire segments of the Russian World” were struggling to uphold their human rights, according to a transcript published on the ministry’s website on Monday. “One of the obvious and, perhaps, key reasons for this state of affairs is the ceaseless growth of xenophobic and neo-Nazi sentiments in the world [and] their subsequent deep penetration into the consciousness of the political establishment in a whole array of foreign governments,” Dolgov said.
The timing and tone of his speech suggest Russia’s growing willingness to use ethnic groups abroad as a political wedge. President Vladimir Putin has spoken frequently of his vision of a broader Russian-speaking federation in recent years and reserved the right to protect Russian speakers with military force after Russian troops annexed Crimea in March.
Russia is now threatening NATO allies in the Baltics. If Moscow tries another invasion of commandos and spies, the alliance is prepared to act, NATO's top general said.
On Monday, NATO Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove had a not-so-subtle message for Russia: it will consider stealth and unofficial invasions to be a trigger for war.
Europe knows these stealth invasions all too well. Russia first sent teams of special operations forces wearing uniforms without insignia in February into Crimea and then later into eastern Ukraine to work with Russian minorities inside the country to begin an insurrection. Ukraine’s military has been fighting these “little green men” ever since. But until recently, Russia has not even acknowledged sending anyone into the country.
Breedlove, speaking at the Atlantic Council on Monday, said if the Kremlin tried that in one of the NATO allies that border Russia—like the former Soviet republics in the Batlics, for example—it would risk triggering Article Five of NATO’s charter which is the section that calls on the alliance to come to the defense of a member state being attacked.
It’s hardly a hypothetical issue. Over the weekend, a Russian foreign ministry official said violations of the rights of Russian speakers in the Baltic states would have “far reaching, unfortunate” consequences, according to a report in Buzzfeed. The message was seen as a threat from Moscow to meddle further in the internal affairs of the three states that were once part of the Soviet Union.
“We have to look at those forces in our border nations where there are substantial Russian populations and how do we better prepare this initial onslaught of this hybrid war,” he Breedlove said. “How do we better prepare our allies to characterize, understand and survive the initial onslaught of the little green men scenario?”
Russia watchers have been warning since the spring that Moldova could be Putin’s next target. With already 2,500 peacekeepers stationed in the breakaway Moldovan province of Transnistria, Russia has a natural base of operations from which to begin destabilize the country’s pro-Western government.
originally posted by: TDawgRex
a reply to: Xcathdra
I think Russia is counting on US/NATO backing down with everything else going on. But if the various Arab states step up to the plate to take on ISIS/ISIL/IS then it frees forces to go elsewhere. Which I'm sure Putin doesn't want.
There is absolutely no rationale justification for Putin to be acting in the manner he is.
originally posted by: whywhynot
a reply to: Xcathdra
Russia and every other bad player in the world know that they will never have a US President less willing to confront them than now. The final 2 years of his presidency is the window that they have and they most likely will take advantage of it.
One has to wonder if Bush Jr. had not foolishy invaded Iraq and still had the international and political capital he needed when Russia invaded Georgia if Russia could have been dealt with then.
originally posted by: BornAgainAlien
Anyone interested in what was actual written, here`s the English translation for a bit of perspective :