If the Russian economy collapses and is not capable of opposing the West, the final card left on the table for Russia will be its recently modernized armed forces. If this happens, Russia could attempt to “break” NATO through the Baltics. The expansion of military activities in Ukraine’s East has been a huge mistake, and Russia does not know how to get out of this situation anymore. Resistance by the Ukrainian side was much larger than Russia expected, and this means that if Russia wants to continue its assault on Ukraine, it will have to openly send in its regular forces. This would automatically mean new sanctions imposed by the West. However, Vladimir Putin has cultivated his image to a point where he cannot afford to back down, the current advisor to the Latvian defense minister and former head of the Latvian Constitutional Protection Bureau Jānis Kažociņš points out.
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