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As Russia gains ground in Ukraine, Baltic states worry the war will spread west
As Russia gains ground in Ukraine, Baltic states worry the war will spread west | GZERO World

As Russia gains ground in Ukraine, Baltic states worry the war will spread west

In recent weeks, Russia has captured territory in the east and southeast of Ukraine at its fastest pace since the early days of the invasion. A six-month delay in the US sending critical military aid to Kyiv allowed Russia a window of opportunity to make significant advances. Now, military experts fear the war could spread westward to the Baltic states, bringing the specter of war to NATO’s backyard.

On GZERO World, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder joins Ian Bremmer from Tallinn, Estonia, for an update on the mood right now in the Baltic region. Government officials in Estonia say they are worried because it’s clear that Russia, by extension, Vladimir Putin, has realized that their survival depends on a permanent mobilization of the country for war, which the Russian economy is now dependent on for growth. Should Ukraine fall or take serious losses, the war could move past the border and into the Baltics, which are members of NATO. As a former Soviet country, Estonia keenly understands what it’s like to be dominated by Moscow and what it would mean for other NATO allies if Ukraine fell.

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A protester near the Invalides during a demonstration against the government's pension reform plan in Paris

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

What We’re Watching: An encore for French protesters, Zelensky’s growing wish list, Weah’s reelection bid

Round Two: French pension reform strikes

For the second time in a month, French workers held mass protests on Tuesday against the government’s proposed pension reform, which would raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. Organized by the country’s eight big trade unions, authorities say as many as 1.27 million protesters hit the streets nationwide, bringing Paris to a standstill and closing schools throughout France. (Unions say the number was higher.) Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron is sticking to his guns, saying that incrementally raising the national retirement age by 2030 is crucial to reducing France’s ballooning deficit. (Currently, 14% of France’s public spending goes toward its pension program – the third-highest of any OECD country.) But for Macron, this is about more than just economics; his political legacy is on the line. Indeed, the ideological chameleon came to power in 2017 as a transformer and tried to get these pension reforms done in 2019, though he was ultimately forced to backtrack. But as Eurasia Group Europe expert Mujtaba Rahman points out, protesters’ “momentum is the key” and could determine whether legislators from the center-right back Macron or get swayed by the vibe on the street. This would force him to go at it alone using a constitutional loophole, which never makes for good politics. More demonstrations are planned for Feb.7 and Feb. 11.

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Putin's next move won't be a Baltic invasion that could unify NATO
Putin's Next Move Won't Be A Baltic Invasion That Could Unify NATO | The Red Pen | GZERO Media

Putin's next move won't be a Baltic invasion that could unify NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin needs a way to boost his popularity at home, but is he likely to launch a military campaign targeting the Baltic states, as Russian studies expert Leon Aron argues in a recent Politico op-ed? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analysts Alex Brideau and Zachary Witlin take out the Red Pen to break down why a Baltic invasion is unlikely to be on Putin's agenda.

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