The annexation of Crimea and bloodshed in eastern Ukraine worry many neighbours of Russia. The Baltic states in particular are concerned about the implications of Moscow's recent actions for their safety.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has even said that, in case of Russian aggression, she herself would defend Lithuania with her bare hands.
Messages coming from Moscow keep reminding that the fears are not entirely unfounded. The latest one came from Morkov, director of the Institute of Political Studies and, former Duma member and close ally to President Vladimir Putin.
"You in Sweden should not worry, but Latvia and Estonia do have basis for concern. In case of a serious war, there is the probability that the said countries could simply cease to exist," Markov is quoted by svt.se.
He says that the annexation of Crimea was Russia's self-defence against the world that is hostile to it. Opinion polls suggest that many ordinary Russians are convinced that Western trade restrictions are attempts to humiliate and weaken Russia rather than to sanction Moscow for tampering with territorial integrity of a sovereign nation.
"The problem is that the Western ruling elites suffer from Russophobia. Russophobia is racism directed against Russians. Make your states abandon Russophobia and life will be much easier," Markov suggests.
He blames Western countries for starting the conflict in Ukraine, saying that Moscow was simply defending "compatriots" from what it calls a fascist regime in Kiev.
"When ultranationalists kill our people, we must rescue them. What the junta that rules Ukraine does is only fascism and terrorism. Where Russian soldiers are, there's democracy and freedom of speech," Markov claims.