The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has dangerous ambitions beyond Ukraine and aims to test Western resolve in the Baltic States.
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this in an interview with The Telegraph, the Yevropeiska Pravda online newspaper reported.
"This is not about Ukraine. Putin wants to restore Russia to its former position as a great power," he said.
According to him, the true goal is to shatter Nato solidarity and reassert Russian dominance over Eastern Europe.
"There is a high probability that he will intervene in the Baltics to test Nato's Article 5," Rasmussen said, referring to the solidarity clause that underpins collective security.
At the same time, in his opinion, Putin "knows that if he crosses the red line and attacks a Nato ally, he will be defeated. But he is a specialist in hybrid warfare." In particular, according to Rasmussen, there is concern that the Kremlin will generate a murky conflict in Estonia or Latvia where there are large Russian minorities, using arms-length action or “little green men” without insignia to disguise any intervention.
Regarding the crisis in Donbas, Rasmussen said that Putin is trying to create a frozen conflict in the Donbass rather than trying to conquer and hold large parts of the country. “He wants to keep the water boiling,” he said.
In addition, Rasmussen said there is no truth to Kremlin claims that the West violated pledges at the end of the Cold War that there would be no eastward expansion of the alliance into the territory of former Soviet Union.
“No such pledge was ever made, and declassified documents in Washington prove this. It is pure propaganda,” he said.