Baltic states concerned over Russian aggression in Ukraine

ANKARA - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to visit the three European Union states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for talks on the Ukrainian crisis.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, all former members of the Soviet Union, have expressed their concerns over Russia's actions in Ukraine. All three have not insubstantial ethnic populations of Russian-speaking people and they do not want Russia inciting revolts in their territories using the excuse that it is protecting the rights of Russian compatriots.

These Baltic States are highly dependent on Russian gas and oil due to their lack of natural resources and their continuing use of Soviet-era infrastructure, including pipelines and electricity and gas grids, which are still controlled by Russia.

Latvia's Treasury has also so far acquired nearly $1.2 million from issuing residency permits in exchange for real estate investment and investor visas to Russians wanting to obtain residency which then allows visa free travel in other European and Schengen countries, the group of 26 European countries that allow citizens to cross shared borders without internal checks. The country's seaports are also dependent on Russian cargo as it accounts for up to 60 percent of all the cargo passing through.

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