Russian President Putin been waging a devastating war in Ukraine for more than three months now. But if Ukraine falls, he won’t stop there, Mikhail Kasyanov, who was Putin’s first prime minister, said in an explosive new interview on Monday.
Kasyanov, who is now the leader of the opposition People’s Liberal party, also known as Parnas, told AFP: “The Baltic states will be next. Kasyanov began to hate Putin more than a decade ago Putin fired him along with Putin’s cabinet in a shock move ahead of the 2004 election. Just a few years later, Kasyanov alleges Kremlin blocks its presidential bid.
Kasyanov’s comments on the Baltics — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — come as Putin’s war is entering a protracted phase. The exact course of the war that will unfold over the next few months is not entirely clear, but Russia is still reaping some benefits. In the last few hours alone, Russian forces have expanded some of their control to include most of it Severodonetska strategically important city in eastern Ukraine.
Kasyanov’s concerns about Moscow’s interests in expanding the war coincide with Putin’s recent comments that have worried analysts, who fear that he is willing to snap up and try to “take back” the region. land that he had long considered legally belonged to Russia.
“Peter the Great returned the territories and fortified them. This fate has also fallen into our hands,” Putin said last week, referring to Russia’s first emperor and his conquests. “We also have a responsibility to restore and strengthen.”
Each of the Baltic states are former Soviet republics, which makes them particularly attractive targets for Putin’s imperialist, territorial goals. But having joined the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which would make Russia’s onslaught against any of them a more complicated move. in terms of geopolitics. An attack on the Baltics could trigger Article V of NATO and other NATO allies might have to defend. That could spark an all-out war with Russia on an unprecedented scale, far beyond the defense support that the invasion of Ukraine prompted.
Russian propagandists have predicted that Russia will follow Poland, UK and USAalso.
But this is not the first time the prospect of Russia invading the Baltic region has surfaced in the past few months. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausea predicted that “Putin will not stop in Ukraine if he is not stopped.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to reassure Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania of NATO’s protection and support during Russia’s aggressive moves in Ukraine.
Latvian officials say they want to strengthen their air and coastal defenses against Russian aggression in recent months. The Baltic countries are also preparing to request a expanding military presence in their countries before Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Putin is no more.”
With the future of the war in Ukraine uncertain, the Biden administration has said it is prepared to continue providing weapons and equipment to Ukraine to fight Russian forces and try to prevent staggering losses, the ministry said. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday.
The Department of Defense will “work to strengthen our joint efforts to meet Ukraine’s priority requirements for self-defense should Russia continue its dangerous offensive in the Donbas,” the defense minister said.
No matter how the question of the Baltic region plays out, Russia’s future will be determined in war, Kasyanov predicts, noting that Putin seems a bit out of place politically.
“I only know these people, and when I look at them, I see that Putin is no more,” Kasyanov said. “Not medically but politically.”
Putin’s future as Russia’s president won’t last long, Kasyanov said, predicting that a “successor” would eventually step up and fill the power vacuum.
“I have no doubt that now, after the tragedy that we are all witnessing, the opposition will unite,” Kasyanov said.
However, removing all kinds of Russian influence from Putin will take some time. “This will be difficult, especially after this war on crime,” Kasyanov said.