Vladimir Putin’s rival Mikhail Kasyanov warns of sinister twist in Russia’s war master plan
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been waging a devastating war in Ukraine for over three months now. But if Ukraine falls, he won’t stop there, said Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as Putin’s first prime minister, in a bombshell new interview on Monday.
“The Baltic countries will be next,” Kassianov, who is currently the leader of the opposition People’s Freedom Party, also known as Parnas, told AFP. Kasyanov started poking fun at Putin more than a decade ago when Putin fired him with Putin’s cabinet during a pre-election shock in 2004. A few years later, Kassianov accused the Kremlin to block his presidential candidacy.
Kasyanov’s comments on the Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – come as Putin’s war is winding down in a protracted phase. It’s not entirely clear exactly what course the war will take over the next few months, but Russia is still making gains. Just in the last few hours, Russian forces have extended some of their control to include most of the Severodonetska key strategic city in eastern Ukraine.
Kasyanov’s concerns about Moscow’s interest in expanding the war coincide with Putin’s recent comments that have shocked analysts over fears he is ready to snap and try to ‘take back’ land he has long held. perceived as legitimately belonging to Russia.
“Peter the Great returned territories and fortified them. This fate also lies with us,” Putin said last week, referring to Russia’s first emperor and his conquests. “It is our responsibility also to resume and strengthen.”
Each of the Baltic states are former Soviet republics, making them particularly attractive targets for Putin’s territorial and imperialist aims. But each has joined the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which would make a Russian assault on either of them a geopolitically more complex move. An attack on the Baltics could trigger NATO’s Article V, and other NATO allies may have to come to their defense. It could trigger an all-out war with Russia on an unprecedented scale, far beyond the wave of defense support the invasion in Ukraine has provoked.
Russian propagandists predicted that Russia would also attack Poland, Britain and the United States.
But this is not the first time that the prospect of a Russian invasion in the Baltic has been raised in recent months. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausea predicted that “Putin will not stop in Ukraine unless he is arrested”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to reassure Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania of NATO protection and support as Russia took caustic action in Ukraine.
Latvian officials have said they want to bolster their air and coastal defenses in light of Russian aggression in recent months. The Baltic States are also preparing to request a expanded military presence in their countries given Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Putin is already out of it.”
With the future of the war in Ukraine uncertain, the Biden administration has declared its readiness to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons and equipment to repel Russian forces and try to avert a staggering loss, it said on Monday. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The Ministry of Defense will “work to intensify our common efforts to meet Ukraine’s priority needs to defend itself if Russia renews its dangerous assault in Donbass”, the defense secretary said.
Regardless of how the Baltic issue plays out, Russia’s future will also be determined during the war, Kasyanov predicted, noting that Putin appears to be a bit off the rocker, politically speaking.
“I just know these people and looking at them I saw that Putin was already irrelevant,” Kasyanov said. “Not in the medical sense but in the political sense.”
Putin’s future as Russia’s president won’t last long, Kasyanov said, predicting that a “quasi-successor” will eventually step in and fill the power vacuum.
“I have no doubt that now, after the tragedy we are all witnessing, the opposition will unite,” Kasyanov said.
However, ridding Russia of all sorts of Putin’s influences will take time. “It will be difficult, especially after this criminal war,” Kasyanov said.