Just when events internationally seemed already to be spinning out of control, particularly in the Middle East, the conflict between Russia and the Eastern Bloc is heating up again with nuclear implications.
Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised eyebrows in his defense of the annexation from the Ukraine of Crimea, the peninsular naval stronghold in the Black Sea, as it seemed to telegraph further military exploits into former Soviet satellites.
On Wednesday Putin made clear that those intentions could become a reality in at least three Baltic states if NATO chooses to move forces into Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. And among the options for response to such a move include a “spectrum from nuclear to non-military”.
For several weeks the U.S. has been sending military “advisers” to Ukraine in a show of support for the sovereign nation and has added support for further NATO action in the region. The move has only emboldened Russian leaders to dig in their heels in order to maintain control of Crimea.