Intelligence service: Russia is on a war footing
Russia's armed forces are ready to embark on a full-scale military operation against Ukraine from the second half of this month, and if Russia achieves its goals there, political and military pressure on the Baltic states could increase, the Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluureamet) says.
Reporting on the situation in its yearbook, which published on Tuesday, the Foreign Intelligence Service says that: "Once military readiness has been achieved, only a political decision is required to launch the operation."
This would put pressure on the Baltic States and the rest of Europe.
"If Russia chooses war, the level of military threat across Europe will rise. Although war in Ukraine would not pose an immediate military threat to Estonia or NATO, Russia's political and military pressure on the Baltic states could increase in the long term should Russia achieve diplomatic and/or military success on the Ukraine issue. Even if Russia's leadership can be persuaded to desist from military aggression, Estonia and," the Foreign Intelligence Service went on.
"Other western countries must prepare for increasingly sustained military pressure from Russia – direct threats of war have become an integral part of the foreign policy of Putin's Russia over the past year," the Foreign Intelligence Service added.
From autumn last year onwards, Russia mobilized 150,000 personnel on its borders with Ukraine, drawn from across the federation and from all 12 armies, making the build-up the largest of its kind in the past 30 years, according to the Foreign Intelligence Service.
The intelligence of that country has lists of targets inside Ukraine which could hamper military and civilian operations there, including its energy supply, while Russia has similar lists for other European countries.
The recent deployment of 20,000 troops as well as missile systems to Belarus, ostensibly for a military exercise, is also part and parcel of the pressure on Ukraine and Europe, the Foreign Intelligence Service says, and would reduce preparation times for NATO responses to any broader attack in the Baltic region.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte