EXCLUSIVE: VLADIMIR PUTIN has stoked tensions on Nato’s doorstep as Russia silently rolls tanks across his Baltic enclave located in the heart of Europe.
The Russian President has been accused of manufacturing ‘casus belli’ – the justification of war – as he heavily militarises Kaliningrad as part of a “hybrid-war” to destabilise and intimidate Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
Russia’s Baltic territory Kaliningrad, wedged between the three baltic countries and Poland, has recently had scores of missiles deployed to the area.
In response Nato has stepped up its plans to deploy thousands more troops to the Russian border as war-mongering Putin continues to increase his nation’s preparation for war.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Tony Brenton, Britain’s ex-Russian ambassador said recent Russian activity was “uncomfortable” for the Baltic states.
He said: “The presence of a bit of Russia in the midst of Nato territory is uncomfortable for the Poles, the Balts and Nato.
“The Russians have in some ways used it as a forward base, with troops situated there. In response to US ‘missile defence’ plans they have threatened to site nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad.
“And in the course of the current Syria crisis they went to some trouble to let US satellites see, nuclear capable Iskander missiles on the pad in Kaliningrad.”
But he argued Russia would also be under threat, adding: “Kaliningrad has Poland to its south and Lithuania to its east, both of them NATO members.
“The Russians therefore depend on these countries for transit and other links to Kaliningrad, which is a source of insecurity for them.”
As the West becomes embroiled in a war of words with Russia, Kaliningrad has become the “obvious place” to deploy military weapons.
The Kaliningrad region, which lies along the Baltic sea in what was once East Prussia, has long held strategic value.
Annexed from Germany in 1945, it was a closed military zone during the Soviet era.
But it has soon become one of Europe’s most militarised places and is now home to Russia’s Baltic Sea, as well as the Chernyakhovsk and Donskoye air babes, with thousands of Russian troops stationed there.
Poet and editor of Irish pages, Chris Agee, called for the the “bleed and crash” of the Russian economy in order to halt Mr Putin’s ambitions.
He said: “Putin could also use the highly militarised Kaliningrad, possessing Russia’s only ice-free European port, Baltiys, as part of a ‘hybrid-war’ gambit to destabilise and dominate the Baltics, or as a manufactured casus belli.
“It is time, in earnest, to bleed and crash the Russian economy – the safest current means of checking Putin’s expansionist ambitions.”