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'This Will Be A Loss For Russia'

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'This Will Be A Loss For Russia'
BORYSLAV BEREZA

How the West should respond to Russia's decision to change borders in the Baltic Sea.

The Russian authorities want to unilaterally change the country's maritime borders with Lithuania and Finland in the Baltic Sea. According to the document prepared by the Ministry of Defence, Russia intends to declare part of the water area in the east of the Gulf of Finland, as well as near the cities of Baltiysk and Zelenogradsk in the Kaliningrad region, as its internal sea waters.

What's behind this step? Charter97.org spoke about this with Boryslav Bereza, Ukrainian politician, former member of the Verkhovna Rada:

— It's just raising the stakes, in fact, Putin begins his favorite game — raises the stakes, goes into an aggressive position. He will look at how the West will react to this. Moreover, Putin actually wants to take control of the islands, and with their help to control the Baltic.

There is one goal — to frighten the West, hoping that they will frighten and retreat, then Putin will take the next step. The second goal is to provoke a passive NATO response. If he declares that this is his territory, what will the Alliance answer? “Give up this desire immediately?”

In this case, Putin will laugh and believe that he has achieved his goal. But if he sees that there is some kind of advancement of forces, or some other adequate response, then it will be a loss for Putin. Given that he raises the stakes, we need to look at how willing the members of the Alliance are to raise the stakes.

It is not so easy to predict the reaction of NATO member states, but I would like to see them turn on at full strength, rather than saying that they are “very excited about this situation”. Russia now, realizing that it is cornered, goes to the classic version — a rat, cornered, begins to rush at the one who pursuit it.

So Russia is now starting to rush at NATO members, trying to show that they cannot resist it. This, by the way, is a signal to the Baltic states and Poland to discredit the Alliance and show that if Russia goes on the attack, NATO will not protect these countries. A clear and tough answer is needed here, Russia will not understand anything else.

— This step coincides with the nuclear exercises conducted by Putin and Lukashenka. What is the logic of two dictators?

— Nuclear exercises are just political statements combined with saber-rattling, which has become traditional in Russia over the past couple of years. This has nothing to do with it.

Only one thing is clear — given that Putin has no more arguments, he once again frightens the West with nuclear weapons. Although, you know, exercises using tactical nuclear weapons are absolutely meaningless, all military experts say this. Remember the expression: "A bad bush is better than the open field." It can be interpreted: "If there are no arguments, then I will use nuclear weapons as the only way to blackmail and intimidate."

Putin has recently become more and more like a boy who shouts: "Wolves! Wolves!" But when either the wolves come or the Alliance makes its move, something tells me that the boy will not be ready.

— What should be the West's response?

— Right up to the movment of naval forces and in fact the same non-linear response about recognizing some other territories as their own. Russia must be hurt, it must clearly understand that it is being beaten with its own weapons. The Kremlin should understand that you can play this game together.

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