WASHINGTON – What a coincidence! Only a few days ago President Barack Obama, on his way to the much anticipated NATO Summit in Wales, stopped in Estonia.
The goal was to reassure this small “front line” Baltic state that the US and NATO will be there to protect it, in case Putin has funny ideas about getting back additional territories, (beyond Crimea and pieces of Eastern Ukraine), with large ethnic Russian minorities.
Senior Estonian officer kidnapped by Russian agents
Well, what do you know, shortly thereafter, according to the Estonian government, the Russians abducted a senior Estonian security officer who happened to be close to the Estonia-Russia border. Is Putin perhaps trying to make a point about Estonian sovereignty and how secure it is? What do you think?
Of course, the Russians deny that there was any abduction. They claim that this person was detained while in Russia.
However, if the Estonian account of the events is true, the brazen kidnapping of an Estonian government official, on Estonian soil, combined with the timing of this action, (right after Obama’s high-profile visit to Tallinn), tells us something about Putin’s regard for the sovereignty of former Soviet Republics.
(Let’s be clear: this kidnapping is not an “invasion” of Estonia. But it is in open contravention of international law.)
I do as I please
And here is Putin’s indirect –but quite clear– message to Washington and to all the Western powers that just gathered in Wales for the NATO Summit:
“You can talk as much as you want about tough responses and economic sanctions against Russia. But I do just as I please; even in a NATO country just visited by Obama. None of your threats will stop me.”