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An increased NATO presence in the Baltics could lead Moscow to feel a need to invade, even if the forces deployed there could not realistically challenge Russia’s military. After Russia seized Crimea and supported separatists in the Donbas region of Ukraine, U.S. and Western military analysts raised concerns about the potential for Russian aggression in the Baltic states. A 2016 RAND report, for example, demonstrated that in the event of a short-notice Russian invasion, Russian forces could be on the outskirts of the capitals of Estonia and Latvia in sixty hours.
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