Russia has targeted Estonia, NATO's eastern weak point

Estonians must understand that of the approximately 335 km of border that the small nation has with Russia, more than half are made up of Lake Peipus and its branches. A geography that could only slow down an advance, but not stop it. The remaining border, closed by the Russians last February citing reasons for road renovation, is a cause for concern for an invasion that is still unlikely – fortunately -. To avoid upsets in the Kremlin, Estonia is therefore a candidate to become the northern border of the new “wall” that will separate the two blocks. It is no coincidence that on February 1st the Tallinn authorities claimed to have received an official note from Russia informing them that the crossing between the Estonian town of Narva and the Russian town of Ivangorod would be closed until December 2025 but only to motorized vehicles, while the pedestrian one would have remained open.

Former Soviet state and now supporter of Ukraine in its war with Moscow, so much so that it is among the most active aid providers (in proportion to the number of inhabitants, around 1.4 million in total), Estonia has five other crossings that should remain open for the moment. However, the Estonian secret services, in an annual report sent to the Tallinn government just last February, claim that Moscow intends to strengthen its troops along the border with the Baltic states, preparing for a “potential conflict with NATO within the next decade”. . With these assumptions, Estonia has increased military spending from 2.85% to 3% of its GDP and started procedures to enlist new soldiers. So together with Poland, Estonia and Latvia they are inviting all other European countries to do the same, from remitting the obligation of military service to the acquisition of modern anti-tank weapons such as the Eurospike missiles based on the Israeli Rafael Spike, equipping themselves with anti-ship systems Medium-range Blue Spear (just under 300 km) such as 155 mm K-9 self-propelled guns purchased from South Korea. The current radar systems, although in need of updating, are still included in the Balti-net system, and are American, that is, the long-range Lockheed-Martin Fps-117s deployed at the bases of Kellavere (in the north of the country) and Amari (in the north-west), where there is also a medium-range Asr-8 radar and where the military base is located in which Western forces aircraft have been present since 2014, engaged in the Baltic surveillance campaign (NATO Baltic Air Policing Patrols), and in other initiatives to protect the Alliance's northern border. Over the years, Dutch F-16s, English and German Typhoons, and American F-22s and F-35s have appeared here. A “primary target” for the possible Russian attack.

Seen from Moscow, this policy means that from Poland to Sweden, from Finland to Estonia indeed, the entire border represents a possible threat, since today Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are European countries and as such allies of Ukraine, but they have the disadvantage to have direct borders with Russia (and in the Latvian case, Belarus). The social implications are enormous, consider, for example, that those in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, who have managed to save and get rich enough since the fall of the Soviet Union until today, often come to Italy to buy properties to commit money that he doesn't want to risk ending up in Moscow's pockets in the event of an invasion.

Thus the alliance between Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius signed at the beginning of the year provides for the creation of a common defense line of the NATO eastern front against Russia and Belarus, so much so that Estonia is building a vast series of bunkers (a few hundred) along its border. Given that a Russian invasion on that side would be strategic madness today, because Moscow would have to amass troops without having enough to manage the Ukrainian crisis, the Kremlin remains witnessing a rapid strengthening of its military assets and could easily cry danger invasion. Although Russian generals would certainly prefer to use missiles and fire from naval units sailing in the Baltic Sea to destroy the small nation's few defenses. Putin is well aware that Estonia participates in various European defense programs, such as Euroguard (armed van drones), and others for cyber security, but also that the Eesti kaitsevägi (Estonian Armed Forces) certainly do not represent a problem for the paucity of numbers. The Merevägi (Navy) is actually more specialized in the removal of mines (over 80,000) which were scattered in the Baltic during the two world wars, while the Eesti Õhuvägi, the Air Force, relies on a few examples of Czech-built Aero trainers L-39 Albatros, on a Pzl Mielec M-28 transport aircraft (a Polish twin-engine turbine that other nations use to launch paratroopers, in fact it was donated by the USA) and on some Robinson R44 civil helicopters. The anti-aircraft defense, before the agreements we mentioned a few lines above, only included Soviet Zu-23 anti-aircraft guns and Mistral missiles. In terms of munitions, for Putin to hit them would be like extending the war by two days. But then invading them would be something else entirely.