Updated at 17:19,07-01-2021

Russia may seek land grabs in Baltics – US congressmen


Republican members of the US Congress House Armed Services Committee warned Russia might invade eastern and southern Ukraine, Moldova’s Transnistrian region (Transdniestria) and attempt to grab territories in the Baltic states, CNN reports.

The committee said there was “deep apprehension that Moscow may invade eastern and southern Ukraine, press west to Transdniestria, and seek land grabs in the Baltics.”

According to CNN, the warning is part of a classified letter sent to the White House by members of the House Armed Services Committee. The letter was published after US army and intelligence officials submitted information on Russia’s possible actions to Congress.

Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius told Laisvoji Banga radio on Thursday “Russia has no capabilities to attempt on the [NATO] Alliance, it has neither financial nor military capabilities to do so.”

Linkevičius noted he believed Moscow might try to invade eastern Ukraine or Moldova, “Its not viable to speak about attacks against the Baltic states. The real threat is further invasion into Ukraine’s territories. I also mentioned Moldova. We definitely need to stop this redrawing of Europe’s borders in the twenty first century, especially by a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a dangerous fact.”

Lithuania will mark 10 years since joining NATO on Saturday.

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday renewed NATO collective defence commitments to Central and Eastern European countries concerned about Russia’s actions. He also urged increasing defence spending in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis.

Lithuania now spends only 0.8 per cent of GDP on defence, less than any other NATO country expect Luxembourg.

The Government of Lithuania has pledged to increase defence spending to 1 percent GDP by 2016.

Lithuanian National Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said on Wednesday that political parties plan to sign an accord on Saturday to increase defence spending 0.1 percent GDP annually to reach a two per cent GDP defence spending target in 2026.