On February 9, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion, titled “The Baltic Region: What Will the Unprecedented Militarisation Lead to?”
The Baltic Sea region remains one of the most vulnerable in terms of security and the risk of escalation in relations between Russia and NATO. Against the backdrop of the conflict in Ukraine, an unprecedented militarisation was launched. Finland and Sweden head towards NATO membership. The defence spending of other regional players which are NATO members has increased significantly. The militarisation of Poland and Germany is especially noticeable. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland are at the forefront of the anti-Russian political line in both NATO and the EU. The risks of a transport blockade of the Kaliningrad region and a threat to Russian shipping are growing, including Estonia’s recent statements about the contiguous zone. Military deterrence and sanctions are the common denominator of the region’s policy towacards Russia. At the same time, the accumulated economic ties with Russia, as well as formats of multilateral dialogue, are being eroded. Russia, for its part, is building the capacity needed to maintain resilience in the event of further escalation.
What are the limits of escalation in the Baltic Sea region? How realistic are the risks of a direct military clash between Russia and NATO in the region? How will institutions of multilateral cooperation develop in the Baltic Sea region? Participants of the discussion answered these and other questions.
- Alexander Grushko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
- Igor Istomin, Acting Head of the Department of Applied Analysis of International Problems (PAMP); Leading Research Fellow, Center for Advanced American Studies, MGIMO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
- Konstantin Khudolei, Head of the Department of European Studies at the Faculty of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University
- Gregory Simons, independent expert (Sweden)
Working languages: Russian, English.