Russia cannot, and does not have the power to, occupy the Baltic states but its objective is to create instability, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Lieutenant General Martin Herem said in an interview with Lithuania's national broadcaster LRT.
Asked if Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not fulfilling their deterrence task, Herem said it has worked so far.
"But it seems that the Russian government and Putin are taking bigger and faster steps toward the West. […] The objective is instability. Russia cannot occupy the Baltic states, they cannot occupy Eastern Europe, they do not have power for that and I think that they do not want that," he said.
Herem said that if Russia blocks the Suwalki gap, the narrow strip of land connecting Poland and Lithuania between Belarus and Kaliningrad, the allies will retaliate.
"What we will do, and I promise you, in three years, we will do the same with the connection between St Petersburg and Kaliningrad in the [Baltic] Sea," he said.
Herem discussed lessons from the war in Ukraine, the defence plans of the Baltic states, and the "strategic dilemma" now faced by the Kremlin.
Read the full interview on LRT News here.
Editor: Helen Wright