A former adviser to Vladimir Putin has told the Independent that the Russian president will not stop trying to expand Russia until he has “conquered” Belarus, the Baltic states and Finland.
Andrej Illarionov, the President’s chief economic adviser from 2000 to 2005 warned that Russia will argue that the granting of independence to Finland in 1917 was an act of “treason against national interests”.
An unusually frank Nato Secretary General issued an unequivocal warning on the course of events should Russia attack Latvia or Estonia.
The West responds with sanctions and closer political ties with Ukraine as Russia's President seals the annexing of Crimea to much fanfare.
Supporters of the controversial fracking industry believe shale gas could be America's most potent weapon in the stand-off with Russia.