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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Baltic is not Moscow's backyard

Latvia's Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma called for permanent Nato presence in the Baltic during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Riga on Monday. Merkel once again rejected the idea of deploying troops, a move the left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung applauds: "There is currently no reason to fear that Russia will attack a Nato member. Consequently there's also no reason for Nato to break its political assurance to Moscow and station ground troops in the new member countries. Things may change in the foreseeable future, and then the Alliance will have to react. For now, however, rather than helping to solve the conflict, shifting Nato units eastward would constitute a provocation. ... Nonetheless Nato has yet to send a clear political signal to the people of the Baltic - and to the Kremlin - that unlike Ukraine, the three small countries do not constitute a buffer or geostrategic grey zone, and that even if many Russians still live there, they are most certainly not part of Moscow's backyard."

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