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The Baltic Campaign was the 2015 full-scale ground invasion of the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by Russian military forces during the opening days of the Third World War.
Invasion of the Baltic States
On May 30, 2015, Russian military forces launch a full-scale invasions of Estonia and Latvia; the attacks are initially carried out with two primary armored thrusts; one along the northern Baltic coast toward Tallinn and the other straight past Izborsk toward Riga. Meanwhile Russian aircraft had already crossed into Lithuanian airspace as ground forces amass along the border in Belarus and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. American and other NATO forces already in the Baltic States fought back against the Russian onslaught and managed to inflict considerable losses on the enemy. Their biggest success was blowing a number of bridges along the road to Riga. This small NATO victory temporarily stalled the Russians in Latvia however the same couldn't be said elsewhere. Russian troops eventually reached the Estonian capital city of Tallinn in the north while Russian armored units invaded Lithuania to the South. Eventually the Russians regained the offensive in Latvia as well and reached Riga by the third day of the invasion. After intense urban warfare, the Russians defeated NATO forces defending Tallinn and Riga, occupying both cities. Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, fell by the end of the first week. The Baltic States were under Russian military occupation by June 5, 2015.
Russian Annexation of the Baltic States
The Russian military committees in command of the occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania scheduled referendums to be held on June 12 to decide if all three countries will be annexed into the Russian Federation. Steps were taken to ensure that only ethnic Russians living in the Baltic States were allowed to vote. The referendums passed on June 12 and unsurprisingly called for the annexation of all three Baltic States. On June 15, history seemed to repeat itself as the "Treaty on the Accession of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to the Russian Federation" was signed accompanied by a speech from President Putin and a playing of the Russian National Anthem. The international community declared Russian expansionist actions as illegal and relics of the 19th century. The United States considered going to the UN Security Council to recommend a number of resolutions to punish Russia but disregarded that idea due to the fact that the Russians would simply veto any resolution made against them.
On June 18, Russian President Putin attempted to negotiate with NATO leaders in an attempt to end the war while allowing Russia to keep their newest territorial acquisitions. NATO leaders countered by stating that any peaceful settlement which favors Russia is unacceptable. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry harshly criticized Russian President Putin for having the audacity to even attempt to seek a favorable peace outcome which would have allowed Russia to get away with illegal territorial acquisitions. The peace talks ended in miserable failure with Russia and NATO remaining in a state of war.