Despite Ukraine’s tensions, Rob Bauer, chairman of NATO’s military committee, currently sees no indications of a Russian attack on the Baltic states.
“We see no indications to date; we do not expect a Russian attack on NATO territory, either directly or via Belarus,” he said on Monday during a visit to Lithuania, BNS news agency reported. Instead, the mobilization of Russian soldiers is seen militarily as a “combination of possibilities,” according to Bauer, who holds the highest military office in NATO.
Moscow, which is demanding new security guarantees from NATO and the United States in the context of the conflict over Ukraine, recently sent troops to Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbour, as well as Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.
According to Bauer, there are now about 30,000 Russian soldiers in Belarus. Moscow and Minsk plan to begin joint military manoeuvres this week, raising concerns about a possible invasion of Ukraine. However, Russia has repeatedly denied that it intends to invade Ukraine.
Lithuanian army chief Valdemaras Rupsys also said that “there is currently neither a tactical nor operational threat”. It would also be “irresponsible” and “foolish” to threaten the Baltic country since NATO troops are stationed there, Rupsys said. In response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has strengthened the protection of its eastern flank.