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Stalin-like Putin could very quickly launch an invasion of the Baltics and bring a new war to Europe, warns ambassadors

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VLADIMIR Putin could quickly launch an invasion of the Baltics and bring a new war to Europe, ambassadors have warned.

Top diplomats to the UK from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fear the Joseph Stalin-like dictator could “pivot quickly” from Ukraine to invade the three nations.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fear Putin could 'pivot quickly' from Ukraine to invade their own countries

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Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fear Putin could ‘pivot quickly’ from Ukraine to invade their own countriesCredit: Getty
Russian soldiers could soon swarm the Baltics

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Russian soldiers could soon swarm the BalticsCredit: AP
Russia has warned Latvia and Estonia, in particular, that their NATO membership is viewed as a significant threat to national security

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Russia has warned Latvia and Estonia, in particular, that their NATO membership is viewed as a significant threat to national securityCredit: Reuters

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Leaders of NATO’s Baltic trio have claimed that Putin’s destruction of Ukraine is evoking their “darkest memories” of occupation under the former Soviet revolutionary.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined NATO in 2004 to ensure they received the formal security guarantees needed to withstand future Russian threats.

It came after the USSR was dissolved on December 26, 1991, restoring their independence in the process.

But despite the three nations enjoying a “stronger collective security” than ever before, ambassadors say they have never “faced a more daunting threat”.

Estonian ambassador Viljar Lubi, Latvian ambassador Ivita Burmistre, and Lithuania’s charge d’affaire Lina Zigmantaite, revealed their fears on the 20th anniversary of their countries acceding to NATO.

In a swipe at other European nations playing down the risk of Russia, they told the Telegraph: “Our warnings about the latent and growing threat from the East were too easily dismissed in some allied capitals.

“We knew then just as we know today that only a collective defence can guarantee security in Europe.

“We lacked this in the 1930s and paid a heavy price; one that Ukrainians are paying now.”

Putin may have so far failed to win the two-year war against Ukraine but the atrocities committed against the opposition and its civilians has been enough for Baltic ambassadors to take action.

The “torments” currently being experienced by Ukraine in the form of “deportation, torture, kidnap of children” and “cultural erasure” has awakened their countries’ “own darkest memories and fears”.

Inside £2bn plan for Europe’s largest Nato base the size of a city housing 10,000 troops that even has schools and shops

Echoing these concerns, ambassadors said: “We are acutely aware that Russia’s war economy and battle-hardened military can pivot quickly from south to west.

“We agree with intelligence assessments that a sharp strategic challenge to our defence and deterrence could come in as little as three years or even less.

“We on the east side of the Baltic Sea have few natural frontiers, and nowhere to retreat to.”

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have already been subject to “hybrid attacks” such as cyber warfare “on a daily basis”.

As a result, leaders insist they must prepare for the worst.

“In these circumstances, confusion spells defeat,” ambassadors said.

“We – and our allies – need therefore to be ready to respond quickly, convincingly and effectively to all kinds of threats.”

They have now called for “speedier decision-making” in NATO to help deter Russia, urging all members “to invest in the forces and equipment to make the alliance’s new defence plans a reality”.

Ambassadors say the Baltics have now raised their game to ensure they are “ready to fight to defend every inch and every soul” of their nations.

However, if they are to deter the threat of Russia, “Nato must do the same”, they said.

Estonia’s Defence Ministry has already announced that an agreement has been struck up to build a series of bunkers on their borders with Russia and Belarus to protect their forces in the event of an attack.

The three NATO and EU members have signed an agreement on the construction of “anti-mobility defensive installations”.

It comes after a leaked military report revealed what could be the Kremlin top’s step-by-step plan to bring the West to the brink of World War 3 – which starts in weeks.

To counter the potential threat from Moscow, Estonia is planning to build 600 concrete bunkers with distribution lines – costing more than £55million – on its side of the border with Russia.

Each bunker will be designed to accommodate 10 military troops for extended periods – and will also have life-support equipment.

According to the sketches provided by the Estonian ministry, the wide range of bunkers will consist of T-shaped trenches, camouflaged by foliage.

These trenches are designed to withstand 152mm projectiles as well as direct enemy fire.

In addition to the labyrinth of bunkers, “dragon’s teeth” tank barriers, barriers, minefields and barbed wire would also be stockpiled for installation if need be.

While Ukraine has managed to withstand the Moscow onslaught for years, it’s likely the three small Baltic states would be overrun within a matter of days.

And should Putin attack the three NATO countries, the defence treaty’s allies would be forced into military action with the Soviet state – including the UK and US.

What is Nato?

THE North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is a political and military alliance of countries from North America and Europe.

It was founded in 1949 to counter the Soviet Union with Cold War tensions rising.

Among articles in its found treaty is the principle of collective defence – the idea that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all of them.

Nato takes decisions by consensus but the political and military strength of the United States means that it is by far the most powerful country in the alliance.

Its nuclear arsenal is seen as the ultimate security guarantee.

Nato has 31 members – most of them European nations, plus the United States and Canada.

The newest member is Finland, which joined last April in reaction to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Sweden applied to join along with Finland but is waiting for Hungary to ratify its application as the final major step before membership.

The three Baltic nations – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – all became NATO members on March 29, 2004, having restored their independence from the former Russian Empire the previous decade.

Joining NATO ensures they receive the formal security guarantees they feel they need to withstand future Russian threats.

However, Russia has made it clear that NATO membership – particularly for Latvia and Estonia with their large Russian minorities – would be viewed as a significant threat to Russian national security.

Estonian soldiers could soon be defending their frontlines from Russia

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Estonian soldiers could soon be defending their frontlines from RussiaCredit: AFP
As a former Baltic nation, Finland would also be heavily involved

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As a former Baltic nation, Finland would also be heavily involvedCredit: Alamy
Finnish soldiers during NATO drills

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Finnish soldiers during NATO drillsCredit: Alamy
French soldiers participating in NATO exercises in preparation for war

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French soldiers participating in NATO exercises in preparation for warCredit: Reuters

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