NATO faces serious challenge with potential Putin-Lukashenko plans for Baltic unrest

NATO military exercises in Poland, 2022
NATO military exercises in Poland, 2022

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and self-proclaimed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko may be planning possible unrest in the Baltic states, putting NATO in a very difficult position, international columnist Ivan Yakovna suggested on Radio NV on June 7.

He believes that weapons are already being supplied to Belarus, including cruise and ballistic missiles, some of which can be equipped with nuclear warheads. Putin intends to provide Lukashenko with additional cruise missiles, some Onyx supersonic missiles, and hundreds of thousands of drones, along with communications jamming systems. Tanks, artillery, and armored personnel carriers may not be necessary for the war Putin plans to wage against the Baltic states.

"I'm not saying it will necessarily happen, but I think the risks are growing and growing. I think Vladimir Putin and his ally, Alexander Lukashenko, are preparing for very serious unrest in the Baltic region. And the fact that Putin categorically denies that he is preparing only convinces me that they are indeed preparing," he said.

Yakovyna explains that the timing may work in favor of Putin and Lukashenko's plans, as the U.S. will be preoccupied with the presidential election in November and for several months thereafter. This could lead to a delay in American intervention, leaving the Baltic states vulnerable.

Read also: Baltic nations, Poland consider troop deployment if Russia advances in Ukraine

"In general, we can say that the Russians most likely do not have to fear that the United States will enter the war on the side of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia if Russia invades these countries. Maybe America will intervene, but not immediately. America will first scratch its head, then think about how to negotiate, and then it can make a decision only if it is not much more concerned with its own affairs than with events on the other side of the world".

Yakovyna believes that the cost of human life has become high in the West, and the U.S. may be reluctant to risk lives for the sake of its allies. Without U.S. involvement, NATO would be limited in its ability to respond effectively to a Russian attack in the Baltic region.

Read also: Russia seeks to expand Baltic Sea borders near Lithuania and Finland; Both countries react

"What will happen in the event of a Russian attack? There will be an attack: hundreds of thousands of drones, probably dozens of cruise missiles, ballistic missiles [will be launched] from Belarus to Lithuania, and maybe some other Baltic countries will be hit as well. I think within two or three days Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania will be cut off from the rest of NATO. Because if Russian or Belarusian or mixed Russian-Belarusian troops manage to establish this corridor between Belarus and the Kaliningrad region, then Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia will actually be left on an island. Russia will be on one side and the Baltic Sea on the other. It will be very difficult to help other allies land their troops on this island," he said.

"In my opinion, all this will not be organized as a Russian attack on a NATO country. Because Putin realizes that it's very risky, it's too scary for him. I'm almost certain that it will first be framed as a conflict between Belarus and Lithuania.

Putin has his own tame madman, Lukashenko. He gave him nuclear weapons in order to have a madman with a nuclear bomb.

In case of an attack on Lithuania from Belarus, Russia will say: "God, what a horror, of course we are against it, we are not there, it is not us. We are against the war, it's a pity that it happened, we are absolutely for peace, we offer Belarus and Lithuania to come to an agreement. But we want to say that if NATO tries to attack Belarus now, we as allies will be forced to respond with a strike against NATO countries, and we will not tolerate this. So let's make sure that this whole war is between Belarus and Lithuania, so that it does not spill over into a broader format of confrontation between NATO and the Russian Federation."

Meanwhile, Lukashenko will announce that if Poland or some other country comes to Lithuania's aid (in fact, only one NATO army can come by land - the Polish army, if we don't count the Latvian army, but it's not that big), then "I, Lukashenko, will respond with a nuclear strike on Polish cities or some other cities. In other words, stay out of it, it's a showdown between us and Lithuania, we'll settle it ourselves".

In reality, Lukashenko plays an absolutely key role as this tame psychopath who will threaten a nuclear strike and perhaps even launch a nuclear strike against someone, probably Poland itself, if Poland tries to help the Lithuanians.

Poland itself does not have nuclear weapons, and by the way, I think the Poles, with such a scenario in mind, recently asked the Americans to deploy nuclear weapons on their territory.

Poland will be faced with a choice: either to help Lithuania and risk nuclear strikes on Warsaw, Krakow and some other cities by Lukashenko, or not to intervene and wait until the nuclear powers within NATO - Great Britain, France and above all the USA - have their say.

For the NATO countries, there will be a very serious impasse, an intellectual one: are they ready to sacrifice tens of millions of lives of their citizens to protect themselves, each of the leaders of the Western world, especially the countries that possess nuclear weapons, to protect Lithuania, for example? I am not 100% sure that the British government or the French government will say: yes, we are ready to lose tens of millions of our citizens, but to save Lithuania, and this is not a fact that we will save it.

The high price of human life becomes a big problem for the Western countries in the scenario of nuclear escalation by Russia and Belarus.

That is why I think that the Western countries, NATO, faced with an invasion of Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia, or all three countries at the same time, will have to coordinate and decide how to respond. And each of the NATO countries, of course, will try to remove their own soldiers from the battlefield, from the front line, so as not to risk their own cities. And the very likely inability and unwillingness of the Americans to intervene in such a story could be very costly for Europe and for the whole world.

We are coming to the point where there is a very high probability that in the event of a Russian invasion from Belarus, a significant part of Lithuania will be occupied within a week or two, and in response NATO will be paralyzed, NATO will not be able to respond adequately, in time, so as not to have to fear a nuclear strike in return," Yakovyna concluded.

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