By the words of different military experts and analytics, the risk of local conflict with Russia in Baltic countries are pretty high.
During every military aggression, for example in Georgia (2008) or in Ukraine (2014), Putin’s approval rating climbed up to 89%. War helps them to shift focus from local social and economical problems. And last years economy is down and there are a lot of problems, so thousands of people are protesting on a streets.
Public trust in President Vladimir Putin has dropped to its lowest level since 2006, according to a new state-run poll, another setback for Russia’s president as the country begins to discuss its leadership options after his term limit ends.
From Putin’s point of view, small military operation could be very helpful. Something like hybrid war campaign in Estonia or Lithuania.
A lot of russian secret services agents acting now in Baltic countries, specially in Lithuania.
To invade in Lithuania Russia needs support of Belarus, and so they do joint strategic trainings every year. The most famous was in 2017:
WEST 2017 was a joint strategic military exercise of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and Belarus (the Union State) that formally began on 14 September 2017 and ended on 20 September 2017, in Belarus as well as in Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast and Russia′s other north-western areas. According to the information made public by the Defence Ministry of Belarus prior to the exercise, fewer than 13,000 personnel of the Union State were to take part in the military maneuvers, a number that was not supposed to trigger mandatory formal notification and invitation of observers under the OSCE’s Vienna Document.
Prior to the exercise, Western military analysts and officials cited the total number of Russian troops, security personnel and civilian officials to be involved in the broader war-games as being up to 100,000, which would make them Russia’s largest since the Cold War.
In 2019 will be another one.
Asked about the likelihood of Russian aggression in the Baltics, Lithuania’s Defence Minister Juozas Olekas told Reuters: “We cannot exclude it … They might exercise on the borders and then switch to invasion in hours.”
To start hybrid war and invade Russia needs some provocation. And they make efforts to set up it. As the latest provocation or test:
Two FSB border officers armed with pistols mistakenly entered Lithuania where they were detained by local border guards, LNK TV channel reports. The Russian officers ‘made a mistake’ and got 500 inside the Lithuanian territory.
If Russia Started a War in the Baltics, NATO Would Lose — Quickly
War games show NATO’s eastern flank is vulnerable. To deter Moscow, the United States will need to deploy heavy armor on a large scale, a new study says.
Source – Foreign Policy