Trump election: Baltic warning over Russian move on Nato

Lithuania has warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin may test Nato in the weeks before Donald Trump becomes US president. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said he was “very afraid” for the Baltics, as well as the Syrian city of Aleppo. Nowhere is the troubled transition of Donald Trump being watched more carefully than in the Baltic states. Lithuania believes its dark view of Russian intentions is justified by its geography and its history. Once part of the Soviet Union, it is now a member of both Nato and the European Union. It has a land border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. In the capital, Vilnius, there is a mural showing Mr Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin locked in a passionate embrace. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told the BBC simply: “Russia is not a superpower, it’s a super problem.” Russia insists it is not a threat, arguing that Nato is responsible for stoking regional tensions by expanding eastwards and moving its military hardware towards Russian borders. The accumulation of radars and air defence systems, as well as coastal anti-shipping missiles, all form part of Moscow’s developing “anti-access and area denial strategy”, which in essence seeks to push Nato forces away from Russia and to make it very difficult to reinforce Nato members in the Baltic region in the event of a crisis.