Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lithuanians, Letts and Ukraineans do it

Remember the Russian bear's appetite (on Memorial Day);
There is a lot of tension in the country. From morning till night the radio stations discuss political developments, energy policy, and military security. The older generations are particularly worried. "We have bitter experience with Soviet invasions, and the memories are coming back when we see what's happening in Ukraine," says an old man in Vilnius.
They believe in peace through strength;
At the start of April, NATO stepped up its air space reconnaissance over the Baltic region. Around 150 US soldiers are now in the country - officially for training purposes. "That makes it all the more surprising to me that on the radio, in the newspapers, and in conversation, the theoretical possibility of a Russian annexation of the Baltic states - a Crimea scenario - is being seen as a real possibility," says [Felix] Ackermann [who teaches at the Belarusian European Humanities University in exile in Vilnius].
36-year-old Laura is very conscious of this: "We see NATO airplanes, we hear them, and it reassures us a little - but will they protect us? I've been a peaceful person all my life, but now the thoughts keep bubbling up: What if…?" She thinks that Putin has always wanted to expand his territory and extend his influence.
That's why Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius - like his counterparts in Estonia and Latvia - has been calling for a permanent NATO presence in his country. "The threat is real," he told DW in an interview. "Sometimes you have to speak a clear language that your opponent understands." 
Now the problem is to find a language Barack Obama understands.

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