Putin Is Making Nato Nervous By Hinting He Wants To Redraw Russia's Baltic Sea Borders

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be eyeing up the Baltic Sea borders, according to the Baltic countries
Russian President Vladimir Putin may be eyeing up the Baltic Sea borders, according to the Baltic countries Contributor via Getty Images

There is growing concern within Nato that Vladimir Putin has his eyes on the Baltic Sea.

It comes after the Russian ministry of defence posted a proposal to redraw the borders around the arm of the Atlantic Ocean on the Kremlin’s website.

It was deleted within 24 hours – but the move was still labelled as an “obvious escalation” from the Kremlin.

The Russian defence ministry claimed that the borders in the area dating back to 1985 “do not fully correspond to current geographical situation”.

The proposal did not explain if that meant redefining the border or repositioning it altogether.

Even though the Baltic Sea does not border much of Russia’s mainland, the country is still connected via its exclave of Kaliningrad – sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania – and the Gulf of Finland, which touches St Petersburg.

However, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov claimed there was “nothing political” in the proposal.

He said: “You can see how tensions are escalating, the level of confrontation, particularly in the Baltic region, demands the necessary steps from our relevant agencies to ensure our security.”

Baltic countries have repeatedly warned Nato that Russia could eventually move to attack more western nations, having already invaded Ukraine.

Nato members Sweden, Finland and Lithuania have all spoken out about Moscow’s latest move.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that Russia and Sweden signed a UN convention regulating how such changes are made – meaning it assumes Moscow will not try to redraw the Baltic Sea borders.

Meanwhile, Lithuania’s foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Wednesday: “Another Russian hybrid operation is under way, this time attempting to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about their intentions in the Baltic Sea.

“This is an obvious escalation against Nato and the EU and must be met with an appropriately firm response.”

Finnish president Alexander Stubb said: “Russia has not been in contact with Finland on the matter. Finland acts as always: calmly and based on facts.”

The commander-in-chief of the Swedish armed forces, General Micael Byden has expressed another fear this week, too.

He told the RND news site that its island of Gotland – in the middle of the Baltic Sea – is at risk of Russian invasion.

He said: “There were times when we reduced our military presence on Gotland to such an extent that we only had a volunteer home defence force there.

“Those peaceful times are over. The war in Ukraine changed the political situation in Europe and we had to massively rearm Gotland.”

Byden added: “Whoever controls Gotland controls the Baltic Sea. At the moment, that’s us. ”

He warned that if Putin seize it, he will threaten the Nato countries from the sea, adding: “I’m sure that Putin has both eyes on Gotland. Putin’s goal is to gain control of the Baltic Sea.”

Byden warned about the Aland Island too, an autonomous region of Finland near Sweden based at the Gulf of Bothnia.

He said: “The Baltic Sea must not become Putin’s playground, where he can terrorise the members of Nato.”