Russia could open second front, Belgium’s army chief says

Europe must show that it is ready to defend itself if Russia opens a second front beyond Ukraine, head of Belgium’s armed forces Michel Hofman told broadcaster VRT on Tuesday.

“We see that Russia has switched to a war economy. I think we would be right to be worried. The language used by the Kremlin and by President Vladimir Putin is always ambiguous,” Hofman said, in comments published in English.“It is by no means out of the question that they might open a second front at some time in the future. Either in the south, in Moldova or the Baltic States,” he said.The Baltics consist of NATO and European Union members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. All three have a border with Russia.Moldova borders Ukraine to the south, along the conflict-hit Odesa region. It is not a member of NATO or the EU, but last week formally began accession talks with the latter. Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean said on Monday that the country needed an upgraded anti-aircraft defense system to counter threats from Russia.“They have already shown that they have the will to attack a neighbor. We have to see that we have the capacity to prevent this happening again and show the will that we are prepared to counterattack if necessary,” Hofman said, as reported by VRT.— Jenni Reid

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