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‘Very serious’ Risk of Putin attack on on EU states like Latvia ‘real’, ex-NATO general


The Russian President has often expressed the desire to reunite all Russians under the banner of “Mother Russia” in reference to all EU and non-EU countries formerly belonging to the Soviet Union. As Russian troops continue to bombard Ukraine, former deputy head of NATO in Europe, General Sir Richard Shirreff, warned an attack by Putin on Baltic states is “real”.

Speaking to the Swedish broadcaster SVT, the former NATO chief said: “It is palpable. Putin’s intention has been clear all along.

“After all, he has said that the most appropriate security settlement for Europe is a new Yalta, which I interpret as meaning that he wants to re-establish Russian rule in the former republics of the Soviet Union.

“And as we know, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are former republics of the Soviet Union.

“This is a danger that we must take very seriously and be concerned about, not least because there are significant Russian-speaking minorities in at least two of these countries.”

He added: “If you look at this in a broader perspective, all the Eastern European countries that were once part of the Warsaw Pact and are now part of NATO are under threat.

“Therefore, NATO must be prepared to discourage any form of attack on any NATO member country.”

The Kremlin said peace talks between Russia and Ukraine may get under way in Turkey on Tuesday and that it is important they take place face-to-face, after what it described as a lack of major progress in negotiations so far.

Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a ceasefire in Ukraine.

Turkey said the talks could begin as early as Monday, but Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that was unlikely as the negotiators would only be arriving in Turkey on Monday.

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In separate comments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a meeting between the two leaders would be counterproductive if it were held now. He said they should meet once the sides achieve progress.

“A meeting between Putin and Zelenskiy is needed as soon as we will be close to resolving all key issues,” Lavrov said in an interview with Serbian media.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.



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