Espreso. Global

Second front. Will Russia go to war with Finland and Lithuania?

22 May, 2024 Wednesday

Putin is raising the stakes and continues to scare the West with new wars. Russia has announced that it plans to change its maritime borders with Lithuania and Finland unilaterally. So it is worth discussing whether there will be a second front?


The Moscow Times reported that the Russian Ministry of Defense has prepared a document according to which Russia intends to declare part of the waters in the eastern Gulf of Finland, as well as near the cities of Baltiysk and Zelenogradsk in the Kaliningrad region, as its internal sea waters.

What have the Russians come up with? The Ministry of Defense proposes to partially "invalidate" the 40-year-old USSR Council of Ministers resolution regulating the borders in the Baltic.

Therefore, Russia will change the geographical coordinates of the points that determine the position of the baselines from which the width of the Russian territorial sea, as well as the adjacent zone off the coast and islands, is measured. Thus, on the border with Finland, the Russian Federation intends to adjust the coordinates in the area of the islands of Jäki, Sommers, Holland, Rodscher, Maly Tüters, Vigrund, as well as near the northern cape of the Narva River, according to the appendix to the Cabinet resolution.

It is interesting that the latest resolution of the aggressor state was published almost simultaneously with the start of Russian exercises on the use of tactical nuclear weapons. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced a little earlier that they had started in the Southern Military District with the participation of Iskander systems and aircraft armed with Kinzhal missiles. This is definitely an attempt to scare the West ahead of the European Parliament elections and shift the focus from missile strikes on Ukraine to the discussion of "maybe we shouldn't send so many Patriots to the Ukrainians, if we can get hit here".

Russia's idea was to scare the Baltic states and Northern Europe into being less of an advocate for Ukraine and less of a voice for the need to rearm NATO countries and to curtail any "cuddling" with Russia.

But it seems that Russia has not drawn any conclusions from the history of the past. It was one thing to move the borders with Finland in 1940, but it's quite another now that a neutral country has not only joined NATO at lightning speed, but is breaking records in arms production, purchasing air defense systems from Israel, and recently leading NATO exercises. If anyone has drawn the right conclusions from Russia's aggression against Ukraine, it is the Finns.

Moreover, the local press has been publishing more and more investigations into how the Russians have been preparing for hybrid wars for years, as they believed that this was also their "native Russian territory".

For example, the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported how Russians have been buying up real estate around strategically important facilities for the defense forces for 20 years. Technically, these premises remain empty. However, the strange coincidence that all the properties near the explosives warehouses, main power grids, and the Finnish army's telecommunications mast were bought by Russians led the publication to interesting reflections.

"It is quite a relevant scenario that agents recruited by the Russian authorities may be preparing sabotage attacks in the workshops they own in Finland against, for example, our country's energy or communications infrastructure - or even terrorist attacks," said Marko Palokangas, a general and professor of military skills at the National Defense University, in a commentary to the article.

Sweden's immediate reaction to Russia's plans to gain a foothold in the Baltic Sea is also noteworthy.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Byden, publicly stated that Russian dictator Putin intends to seize the Swedish island of Gotland to gain full control of the Baltic Sea.

"I am sure that Putin has both eyes on Gotland. Putin's goal is to gain control of the Baltic Sea. He probably also has his eye on the Åland Islands. The Russians are closely monitoring what is happening at the entrances and exits to the Baltic Sea," said Byden.

Why is Gotland so important and the Russians have their eyes on it? The distance between the island and Kaliningrad is 330 kilometers. Nearby is the naval base of the Baltic Fleet of the terrorist country. The Russian aggressors are drawing on Gotland as a potential site for the expansion of their rotten empire.

However, if the Russians used to be able to scare the Swedes, it is now harder to do so. As soon as Sweden joined NATO, Gotland became key to the defense of not only Sweden, but all the countries in the Baltic region. Both foreign allied troops and NATO military equipment will be able to stay on the island. Consequently, Gotland, where Swedish special forces were previously stationed, is now being heavily fortified and guarded. It should also not be forgotten that the Swedes have an excellent military-industrial complex, which, under certain conditions, will be perfectly tested on Russian targets.

The initial plan to occupy the Baltic States and Northern Europe was announced by the Russians in January 2022, on the eve of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. On the air of Kremlin propagandist Yevgeny Popov, Russian political scientist and editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko showed how Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia would be invaded.

The logic of Putin's Russia as of early 2022 was simple: immediately after the fall of Ukraine, the West would have been frightened. And a frightened NATO would have refused to defend the three Baltic states. But what was particularly cynical was that "Russian military analysts" considered the actual occupation of the Swedish island of Gotland to be an integral part of their grand plan.

The plan sounded like this: the Russians first promised to strike the West with electronic means of jamming the communications of the Western Military District and the Baltic Fleet. "NATO radars will go blind and see nothing," Korotchenko promised Skabeeva's husband.

At that time, the Russians were supposed to land on the island of Gotland in Sweden with S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems and Bastion anti-ship missile systems. At the same time, Belarusian and Russian troops are blocking the Suwalki corridor and isolating NATO and Poland from the Baltic states so that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia do not receive aid.

And the culmination of this " special operations" against the Baltic states was to be the following: "The few special operations forces of Canada, the UK, Germany, and the US in the Baltic states are surrounded by regiments of the Pskov Airborne Division and are laying down their arms. The new governments in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania proclaim the Estonian People's Republic, the Latvian People's Republic, the Lithuanian People's Republic, and Sweden signs a treaty of perpetual neutrality and leases the island of Gotland for a Russian military base for 99 years."

And Korotchenko's conclusion about the likely behavior of the neighbors: "At the same time, 'polite people' appear in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius, and are welcomed by the local population. And those who are not welcomed, they simply hide and lock themselves in their apartments."

The fact is that Russia has lost time and resources for such scenarios in the war in Ukraine. And during these two-plus years of full-scale invasion, everyone understands what the Pskov division is capable of. The Bucha massacre and the shooting of prisoners of war near Robotyne. There are documentary facts that have been published by all the world's media about what elite Russian paratroopers do when they come to someone else's home.

Finland, Sweden, and the Baltic states, like no other, have drawn good lessons from the Ukrainian war. Sometimes even much better than us — as a nation that is directly in the epicenter of the war.

Putin is running out of creative ideas to terrify the West. He clearly understands that this summer is his last chance to tip the scales in his favor. That's why the old ideas of how to capture everyone and everything — even when you're already bare-assed — are being used.

Such statements about new invasive ideas can be a chance for us. That it is impossible to negotiate with Putin by compromise at the expense of Ukraine. The empire wants to drown all its neighbors in blood and make them its slaves. It has been proven again.

Specially for Espreso

About the author: Maryna Danyliuk-Yarmolaieva, journalist

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of blogs.

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