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Will Putin’s colossal miscalculation with Ukraine whet or dull his appetite for the Baltic states?

Estonia’s Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, in a New York Times Op-ed in March stated that irrespective of Russia’s monumental blunder, the Kremlin must not be allowed to enjoy even the tiniest delusion that their aggression was justified and successful.

Kallas put it bluntly: “Mr. Putin cannot win this war. He cannot even think he has won, or his appetite will grow.”

When the Soviet Union imploded, we were convinced that the Cold War was truly over. It seems that it was just dormant. We expected Europe to be free and undivided.

The blitzkrieg invasion of Georgia in 2008 shaped Russia’s ‘new normal’ with the West. The punitive sanctions imposed then were upgraded in severity after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The Western countermeasures proved ineffectual. This, coupled with Mr. Trump’s attempts to weaken NATO unity, assisted with his bizarre coziness with Putin helped to embolden Russia to maintain its unhindered aggressiveness toward its formerly subjugated states.

It’s totally understandable that the Baltic states see themselves on the front lines with Ukraine. They are the loudest voice in Europe in support of Ukraine’s fight, calling for increased military support. They have been the most insistent in advocating EU membership for Ukraine.

(Read more: Estonian Life No. 30 2022 paber- and PDF/digi)

Laas Leivat, Toronto

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