Russia has “strategically lost” the war in Ukraine, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has claimed today. Vladimir Putin sent his forces into the country in February, and while they are now making progress in the east, major cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv remain firmly under Ukrainian control. Sir Tony said: “This is a dreadful mistake by Russia. Russia will never take control of Ukraine. “Russia has strategically lost already. NATO is stronger, Finland and Sweden are looking to join.”
While many in the West can see Putin’s failings, it appears the Russian President remains determined to restore Russia’s control over Eastern Europe,
According to Ukrainian intelligence, Putin will target Lithuania – an EU country and NATO member – next.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, cited intelligence gathered when making the bold claim, and said: “What we understand and what our intelligence gives: today we are talking about Lithuania.
“The Russian Federation is not going to stop. They have the following goal – if they win, God forbid, in our territory, the next country which Putin will want to capture will be Lithuania itself.
According to him, the Baltic states and Poland will follow.
He added: “It will all depend on how NATO behaves. Today, NATO’s behavior is a bit strange. They believe that they will be overtaken by this fate.
“Today, the security of not only Europe but also NATO countries located on the European continent is on our shoulders.
“We understand this, we ask you to help us. You have no desire to fight, we are ready to fight ourselves.
“Give us modern weapons so that we can destroy the enemy. This is the only thing we ask for today.”
The Baltic states have endured Russian hostility for decades.
All are now members of the EU and NATO, but in June 1940 they were invaded and occupied by the Soviet Union and after World War 2.
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They remained a part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991.
NATO nations fear that Russia could try to take control of the Suwalki gap to cut the Baltic states off from the rest of Europe.
The Suwalki gap (also known as the Suwalki corridor) separates the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea from Belarus.
If Russia did decide to invade Lithuania, Article 5 of NATO sets out the alliance’s ‘Collective Defense’ mechanism, which states that an attack on one nation is an attack on all.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda urged the US in March to increase its support for the country, warning that “deterrence is no longer enough, and we need more defense here, because otherwise it will be too late here. Putin will not stop in Ukraine; he will not stop.”
Putin sparked concern earlier this month when he compared himself to Peter the Great, the former Emperor of Russia who built the country into a global power.
The Russian President appeared to suggest that he could follow in the footsteps of the historical figure.
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He said: “Peter the Great waged the great northern war for 21 years. It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them.
“He did not take anything from them, he returned [what was Russia’s].
“Apparently, it is also our lot to return [what is Russia’s] and strengthen [the country].
“And if we proceed from the fact that these basic values form the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks that we face.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk last week, expert Olga Lautman warned that Putin “will expand” the war into other countries if he can.
She warned that the Baltic states, Poland, Moldova and Georgia are among those under threat.
Asked if Putin would invade other European countries, Ms Lautman added: “Absolutely. We have already seen Russia laying the groundwork in Transnistria to try and destabilize Moldova, we saw the same in South Ossetia to destabilize Georgia.”
“Then of course Poland, we have heard the former Russian prime minister Medvedev’s comments about Poland.
“We have also seen the threats against Finland and Sweden because they wanted to join NATO, and you have the Baltics too.”