Baltic warning over Russian move on Nato
Lithuania has warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin may test Nato in the weeks before Donald Trump becomes US president.
Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said he was “very afraid” for the Baltics, as well as the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Nowhere is the troubled transition of Donald Trump being watched more carefully than in the Baltic states.
Lithuania believes its dark view of Russian intentions is justified by its geography and its history.
Once part of the Soviet Union, it is now a member of both Nato and the European Union. It has a land border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
In the capital, Vilnius, there is a mural showing Mr Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin locked in a passionate embrace.
The government naturally expresses its views in less lurid terms but it shares the basic concern of the artist that Mr Trump and Mr Putin are too close for comfort.
The fear here is that the United States is keen to see Russia as a potential partner and reluctant to share the view in Eastern Europe that Moscow presents a potent and immediate military threat.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said simply: “Russia is not a superpower, it’s a super problem.”
Russia insists it is not a threat, arguing that Nato is responsible for stoking regional tensions by expanding eastwards and moving its military hardware towards Russian borders
The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad represents an important military outpost between Poland and Lithuania with its coastline on the Baltic Sea.