The current mood in Russia seems to be towards expansion. The Kremlin-appointed head of the Zaporizhzhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky, emphasized the need for a Russian presence in the Baltic states, Finland and Poland in a recent interview with RIA Novosti. This reports “Kyiv Post“. He expressed the view that these lands once belonged to the Russian Empire and should therefore be brought back so that “the whole world does not become Sodom and Gomorrah,” as, according to Balitsky, is currently the case in Europe. These comments, as reported by the Kyiv Post, reveal a larger tendency in Russia to seek not only the restoration of the USSR, but also the entire Russian Empire.
Balitsky switches sides and encourages Russian occupation
Balitsky’s background is interesting: once a member of the Ukrainian parliament, he switched sides after the Russian invasion began and supported the Russian authorities in the city of Melitopol. His promotion to governor of the Zaporizhzhia region by the Russian occupiers in April 2022 strengthened his position, and he supported Russia’s annexation of the region, according to the Kyiv Post.
Ukraine just beginning of major military actions
But Balitsky’s statements are not isolated. Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev, recently promoted to colonel general by President Putin and head of Russia’s Central Military District, said in an interview on Moscow state broadcaster Russia-1 that Russia’s current military actions are just the beginning. He stressed that the war would continue and possibly spread to Eastern Europe. When asked if Ukraine was just a stepping stone, he confirmed this assumption and noted that supporters of this war would not stop soon, according to the Kyiv Post.
This underscores increasing concerns in Europe about Russia’s ambitions and signals the need to be prepared for a potentially longer-lasting and larger geopolitical challenge.