Vickie Oliphant — Daily Express Nov 22, 2016
NATO members including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were quick to congratulate the new President-elect following his victory earlier this month, as the Baltic nations nervously waited to find out whether he would stop bankrolling their defence against Russia.
The US had been protecting the countries from any attack launched by Vladimir Putin amid heightened concern the maverick leader had plans to invade and restore them to Soviet control.
Now Professor Paul Miller warns the world could be facing the next great war – and hints Latvia will be first hit.
The respected defence expert from the National Defence University in Washington DC previously predicted the invasion of Crimea in 2014.
He also successfully foretold of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, which has now been ongoing for more than two years and eight months.
And now the professor believes Latvia could be next on Russia’s hit list – sparking a deadly conflict that will test the limits of conventional war fare.
He claims if Putin was to invade the country – which has a population of just two million people – he would do so by sparking civil unrest among ethnic Russians, who make up 25 per cent of the country.
Professor Miller said: “He will not send large formations of uniformed Russian soldiers over the international border – even the most cautious NATO members will not ignore an overt conventional invasion.
“Instead, Putin will instigate an ambiguous militarised crisis using deniable proxies, probably in the next two years.
“Perhaps Russian-speaking Latvians or Estonians will begin rioting, protesting for their rights, claiming to be persecuted, asking for “international protection.
“A suspiciously well armed and well trained ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of the Russian Baltics’ will appear.
“A few high-profile assassinations and bombings bring the Baltics to the edge of civil war. A low-grade insurgency may emerge.”
The underhand technique, which normally aims to create a climax that then justifies military intervention, is said to have been used to seize Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
ensions among Crimeans with Russian heritage were whipped-up by Kremlin agents and, under a pretext of helping them, Russia then annexed the Black Sea nation.
And the same could be happening again.
Since all the Baltic nations are in NATO, an invasion from Russia would mean all fellow members would be forced to come to its rescue under Article Five of the alliance treaty.
And if the military organisation tries to go head-to-head with Russia in another Cold War style conflict, any invasion could even spark a third world war.
The warning comes as strong-man Putin claims he will help to mend broken ties with a Trump-led America.
And Mr Trump has already show a desire for a closer relationship with the Kremlin – much to the concern of the Baltic states which lie on Russia’s western doorstep.
Speaking to the BBC Linas Linkevicius said: “The new administration doesn’t come in until the second part of January.
“I’m very afraid and concerned about this period not just because of the regions which are close to here but let’s hope that Aleppo is not smashed from the ground by then.”