Image by Teekkari
The Latvian Foreign Ministry recently reported that the ambassadors from the Baltic countries to France have sent a letter to the French newspaper, Le Monde, to stop calling the three countries ‘former Soviet republics’ as they recently published in a map of the region.
Le Monde’s editor in chief Luc Bronne was informed on September 7th of the request, reported The Baltic Times.
“The ambassadors explained the historical facts, including the illegal occupation and incorporation of the Baltic states in the Soviet Union in 1940, reminding that the majority of the world countries, including France, considered this act illegal and that ensured continuity of statehood of the Baltic states and restoration of their independence after collapse of the Soviet Union,” wrote TBT.
It seems Le Monde recently published a piece on the threat from Russia’s hybrid warfare to Finland where the map with the incorrect term was used. The ambassadors thanked Le Monde for highlighting Baltic issues but declared they would follow the French press to ensure the region was discussed in the correct terminology.
The threat of Russian hybrid warfare has been increasing over recent years since the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula and their support of separatists in the Donbass region of East Ukraine. The Baltic nations have large Russian speaking populations and are wary of Russian interference in their internal politics and sovereignty.
The upcoming Zapad 2017 exercise which will involve thousands or Russian and Belarusian troops on the Baltic borders has been a particular cause for concern. Russia has denied any threat to the region from the exercise which is planned on a rotating basis. NATO is sending observers to the exercise but is concerned as well regarding Russia prepositioning equipment inside Belarus for possible future aggressive use.