As the first battalion of what will ultimately be several thousand NATO troops arrives in the Baltics, Russia’s Foreign Ministry is definitely taking note, with the Russian state media quoting a top official saying that they view the deployments as a threat against them, and are watching the matter closely.
It’s unsurprising that the Russians would view the deployment this way, as it has been hyped by NATO officials as a “spearhead” force explicitly to fight Russia, and has been talking up the idea of a fight with Russia over the Baltic states for months.
As always, the escalation seems to feed on itself. The NATO deployment has Russia planning a major wargame in the region early this year, and the Baltic states are urging NATO to respond to these wargames with yet more buildups along the Russian frontier.
Lithuanian officials say Russia’s wargames risk “provocations” along their border, and they want a massive NATO force to be ready to respond to such incidents, insisting Russia now poses a threat to all of central Europe.
NATO officials are presenting their present deployments as proof of a “long-term commitment,” downplaying the risks of President Trump, keen on improving US-Russia relations, backing away from the NATO escalation at this point, and seeing the alliance locked into the situation..
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