This article is reproduced from Infobrics, with thanks.
Western intentions to arm Estonia with the most modern types of conventional weapons which can target St Petersburg, as well as the installation of a medium-range anti-missile defence system, suggests that the Baltic country is wanting to challenge Russia, despite its military barely even having enough professional soldiers to field a single battalion.
At the same time, and just as provocatively, Estonian authorities have been discussing the introduction of a 24 nautical mile coastal zone in the Gulf of Finland to limit the navigation of Russian ships.
It is clear that Estonia is a highly active anti-Russian state that hopes its actions will receive western tributes and rewards. In pursuing this goal, the Baltic country seems quite prepared to break international law by restricting Russian shipping in waters it has a perfect right to navigate through.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that attempts to deploy offensive Nato weapons will immediately provoke retaliatory steps. But if weapons systems that can target Russia’s second-largest city are placed on Estonian territory, it cannot be discounted that the Russian military will deploy the Iskander system or some other weapon able to cover all of Estonia’s sea, land and air territory.
When Lithuania attempted to blockade the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in 2022 by stopping rail and road transportation, and attempted to justify its action under the European Union’s sanctions regime, it was forced to back down, belatedly realising that a military and economic blockade would provide Russia with a ‘casus belli’ – a reason for war – that it would not be insured against by Nato’s “mutual defence” article.
Larger European nato countries are rotating their units and military equipment, including aviation and F16 fighter jets, through the Baltic countries, which are full of foreign soldiers and equipment. They themselves cannot ensure their own security, despite implementing policies that are extremely provocative and hostile to Russia.
The Russian ambassador in Tallinn, Vladimir Lipayev, who disclosed that western countries plan to supply Estonia with the most modern types of conventional weapons, also said that the imperialists had an interest in creating an anti-Russian outpost in the Baltic country in order to put economic, political, cultural and military pressure on Russia.
But the Baltic countries are playing with fire. The Ukraine war has demonstrated that Russia is quite capable of demilitarising hostile states. Even Ukraine, which has all the resources of the west behind it and the second-largest army in Europe after Russia’s, is unable to stem the tide of battlefield defeat and territorial loss.
With the Ukrainian military appearing to be on course for collapse in 2023, the USA and Britain are escalating tensions in the hope that continuous conflict will drain Russia’s resources and attention. But this internationalised effort to involve as many countries as possible in the confrontation with Russia only puts countries under a puppet status at risk of Russian retaliation, as Ukraine’s fate has shown.
If Estonia were to try to blockade Russian ships, it cannot be protected under Nato’s Article 5, since it would have initiated the hostilities by breaking international law. Understandably, the leading countries of the EU do not want to be directly exposed to a Russian military counterattack, which is why the people of Ukraine, the Baltics and Poland are being used as cannon fodder instead.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a dividing line in the middle of the Gulf of Finland was agreed upon between Russia and newly independent Estonia. From this middle line, Finland and Estonia retreated 3km to allow Russia a 6km channel for the free passage of Russian merchant and military fleets, thus transforming these into international waters.
In order to blockade Russia in the Gulf of Finland, it would be necessary for Finland to implement the same policy. If Tallin unilaterally introduces such a zone in its territorial waters, then Russia would have the option of using the Finnish part of the gulf.
For now, there is no indication that Finland plans to block Russian ships. If Finland and Estonia were to block Russian shipping together, Moscow would have a strong case to appeal to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, something that would surely humiliate a country like Finland, which prides itself its supposedly strict adherence to international law.
So while Estonia, encouraged by the Anglo-American imperialists, may be enthusiastic in enforcing anti-Russian measures, there is a good chance that regional countries like Finland and Germany will not want to open a new front with Russia and will work to persude the Baltic country to moderate its attitude.