Russia underestimated the possible support from Poland and the Baltic States to Ukraine [interview]

Photo. ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki)/Twitter

No one at the Kremlin has ever believed that Ukraine is that strong. The 3-days plans changed into an impossible mission. Moreover, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland have proved that their support is crucial, and they are also ready for the possible attack from Russia. Recent months showed that the pillars of NATO security were forged properly, and Moscow will have a huge challenge to ever move further to the west.


Poland's role in helping Ukraine is unquestionable and deserving of recognition in the eyes of the world. Nevertheless, the involvement of Lithuania, Latvia and, above all, Estonia is phenomenal and should be also emphasized. It is true that all of the above states are very eager to support, but sometimes there are financial, technological or logistical constraints. Certainly, there are no political and diplomatic issues related to the relation with Russia, as the Baltic States do not consider the possibility of cooperation with Moscow.


It is worth emphasizing how, in spite of adversities, Balts are engaged in favor of Kiev. The amount of equipment as well as medical and humanitarian support make Estonia a world leader in providing – all kinds of – aid to Ukraine in terms of national GDP (Poland ranks second). The list of help is very long, and what is more, the support is sometimes confidential. From the Polish perspective, this topic deserves deeper explanation.

For the opinion was asked Kalev Stoicescu – a former Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence official, and since 2014 an expert at the International Centre for Defence and Security. Among other fields, Stoicescu specializes in issues related to Russian foreign and domestic policy, as well as developments in the field of NATO's defence and security.


Has Russia ever believed that Poland could be such a great ally to Ukraine? Was it the mistake of Kremlin's vision of Eastern Europe?

Russia made the decision to attack/invade Ukraine based on incredibly poor political intelligence and assessments. It was mostly assumed that Russia has learned from its mistakes made in/since 2014, when it failed to occupy the so-called Novorossiya (eastern and Southern Ukraine) and force Ukraine to submit to the Kremlin's demands. Moscow underestimated on all accounts Ukraine's determination and capability to resist, as well as the determination of Western countries, including Poland and the Baltc states, as well as the US, the UK and others to stand behind Ukraine and further punish Russia for the aggression. It was a colossal misjudgement and mistake made by the Putin's regime.

We can see that Poland and the Baltic States are severing all ties with Russia. Do you see any chances for the restoration of bilateral relations with Moscow, for instance a "reset button" and a fresh start? How will Russia change towards its neighbors withing next few years?

Russia accuses especially Poland and the Baltic States of „unfriendliness". How can be friendly with Putin's criminal and aggressive regime? Western countries, including the US, have tried repeatedly to „reset" relations with Russia, but it does not work. A reset requires the willingness of both sides. Russia, under Putin, will certainly continue to be belligerent and aggressive towards the West. Putin will not stop the war in Ukraine. He will fight to the/his end.

Can the Russians try to invade Poland and the Baltic States at all (statements of Volodymyr Zelensky)? Russian foreign policy is mysterious, but is it that unpredictable and aggressive?

Russia's ultimatums to NATO and the US, presented on the 17th of December 2021, do not leave any doubts about the "collective Putin's" agenda to first destroy Ukraine, and thereafter (or in parallel) the European security architecture. It is therefore the task of NATO and the EU to make sure that Russia does not succeed in Ukraine, otherwise Russia's aggression against more exposed allies (Poland and the Baltic states) would become virtually inevitable.