Russia will likely not take direct steps which would threaten the Baltic States and the integrity of NATO, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) Andrey Kortunov told Baltic News Service (BNS) in an interview.
Relations between the Baltic States and Russia are “complicated and not positive,” said Kortunov in an interview with BNS during the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn last weekend.
He warned that a lot of anti-Baltic rhetoric would be seen in the Russian media in the near future, especially after the July 8-9 NATO summit in Warsaw, where decisions are to be made regarding the deployment of NATO troops on Baltic territory.
“I think that we will see an exchange of hostile statements that we already see happening,” Kortunov told BNS. “For example, in Latvia, they concluded the work of the commission that evaluated damage caused by the Soviet occupation. That became a big issue, at least in Russia.”
According to Kortunov, he could foresee further complications due to very deep mistrust and some unresolved issues, even with Estonia. “We still have the territorial issue that is not yet resolved,” said the director.
“I think that unfortunately, we are likely to see a rather tense period, although I don’t think it will escalate into a direct conflict,” Kortunov went on. “I don’t think Russia will take any actions that might compromise the integrity of the NATO alliance. The Baltic States are members of the alliance, and I don’t think that Russia is likely to exercise any direct threatening actions against them.”