VLADIMIR Putin chillingly taunted the West today by flying over the Baltic Sea into the heart of Europe and skirting four Nato states.
The dictator, 71, visited Kaliningrad, a western Russian enclave stuffed full of nuclear-capable missiles and wedged between EU countries Poland and Lithuania.
GettyPresident Putin dropped in on his most westerly region in the Baltics today for alleged ‘economic’ reasons[/caption]
EPAThe provocative trip saw his presidential plane fly close to the borders of Nato states[/caption]
AFPPutin tours the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad[/caption]
His unexpected and rare trip comes amid a spate of Western warnings over the threat of full-scale war with Russia in the coming years.
Russia’s most westerly territory of Kaliningrad is used as a headquarters for Russia’s Baltic fleet and some of its most powerful armaments including hyper-sonic missiles.
Putin’s so-called “Flying Kremlin” presidential plane then hugged the coasts of ex-Soviet states Latvia and Lithuania before landing in Kaliningrad.
On high alert, a Nato military A330-243MRTT reconnaissance plane from Netherlands Air Force was seen circling over the Baltic Sea off the eastern coast of Swedish island Gotland.
An RAF Boeing RC-135W electronic reconnaissance aircraft also allegedly approached the Kaliningrad region, according to Russian reports.
A Beech 350 King Air ALSR reconnaissance aircraft of the French Air Force reportedly also monitored Putin’s arrival.
Putin is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over accusations of child abduction of children taken from war-torn Ukraine to Russia.
He now restricts his foreign travel, and would face arrest if he visited Western and other ICC countries.
His spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied Russia had requested a security corridor while flying over neutral waters close to Nato territory.
“They always take a special security measure wherever the head of state [Putin] is concerned,” he said.
“And, of course, they were engaged in the [security] measure this time.
“I mean, everything that should be done to ensure the security of the head of state is being done.”
Peskov denied the dictator’s visit to Kaliningrad was aimed at riling up the West, even though it has been interpreted as such in Russia.
“This is not a message to Nato countries when the president visits the regions of the Russian Federation,” he said.
“It is not a message to NATO countries.
Instead Putin’s mouthpiece claimed the high-stakes trip was aimed at “economic development” in the region.
“This is the main task, not to send messages.”
The bombshell files suggested that such a move would be part of a longer-term plan to invade and conquer the Suwalki Gap.
The 60-mile Polish-Lithuanian corridor that connects between Belarus and Kaliningrad has been dubbed Nato’s “weakest link” as is feared to be a future battleground for a Russia-Nato war.
For Russia, control of the corridor would give Moscow a land link to Kaliningrad from Belarus.
Putin’s provocative trip comes amid a flurry of warnings have come lately from military chiefs and policymakers over the threat of full-scale war with Russia in the coming years.
Downing Street was forced to rule out conscription after the head of the British army General Sir Patrick Sanders warned that civilians would need to fight Russia in a future war.
He stressed the need for ministers to “mobilise the nation” amid the threat of World War 3 after accusing the existing military of being “too small”.
He said: “Our friends in Eastern and Northern Europe, who feel the proximity of the Russian threat more acutely, are already acting prudently, laying the foundations for national mobilisation.
“We will not be immune and as the pre-war generation we must similarly prepare – and that is a whole-of-nation undertaking.
“Ukraine brutally illustrates that regular armies start wars; citizen armies win them.
Last week, a Nato military chief warned Brits to prepare for an all-out war with Russia and be ready to join the battle.
Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer said that the globe is facing its “most dangerous and volatile moment” in history and that “large numbers of private citizens will need to be mobilised.
During a crunch summit between Nato defence chiefs in Brussels, Bauer said: “We need to be readier across the whole spectrum…We have to realise it’s not a given that we are in peace.”
“And that’s why we [Nato forces] are preparing for a conflict with Russia,” he announced.
The same day Russia’s warmongering foreign minister Sergei Lavrov vowed a ‘New World Order’ was emerging and promised the West that their time of “global domination” is over.
UK defence secretary Grant Shapps warned that the UK was “moving from a post-war to a pre-war world” with the threat of a major conflict in the next five years.
Putin’s fearsome £390million ‘Flying Kremlin’
APThe despot’s trip comes after a leaked military report suggested Kaliningrad would have a major role to play in a Russia-Nato war[/caption]
AFPThe Kremlin said it was ‘not a message to Nato states’[/caption]Leave a comment