If Putin’s march into Ukraine isn’t stopped, where will he invade next?

The Russian president’s playbook seems all too familiar: There are always disaffected people to “protect” in areas of his interest.

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Protestors against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in front of the Russian Embassy on Feb. 22 in Berlin, Germany. 

Protesters against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in front of the Russian Embassy on Feb. 22 in Berlin, Germany.

Omer Messinger/Getty

At their meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich on Sept. 29, 1938, the British and French agreed to his demand that the Sudetenland area in Czechoslovakia (mainly populated by ethnic Germans) would be incorporated into Nazi Germany. German troops immediately occupied the Sudetenland, while Hitler stated it was his last territorial demand (having annexed Austria to the Reich in March of 1938).

He then invaded the remaining Czech state in March 1939, turning the remainder of Czechoslovakia into a German-controlled “protectorate.”

That fall, Nazi Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, starting World War II. The immediate pretext was a series of “incidents” staged at Gleiwitz and other places along Germany’s border with Poland. These were used an excuse for the German forces already massed at the borders to invade Poland.

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Now, on Feb. 21, just after the U.S. and its NATO allies participated in the Munich Security Conference, Vladimir Putin has used a similar pretext of “abused ethnic Russians” in eastern Ukraine to effectively annex those areas to Russia. It is worth remembering that Ukraine’s borders, including the Russian-speaking populations in the east, were created by Soviet Russia. Putin’s armed forces remain surrounding the rest of Ukraine, which he clearly wants to reduce at least to a vassal state of Russia.

Russia has already effectively seized part of the ex-Soviet state of Moldova on Ukraine’s southwest border, having sent in “peacekeeping” troops in 1992 to resolve a conflict between the Moldova government and a secessionist entity in Transnistria. Russian solders remain in the secessionist area despite the wishes of the Moldovan government.And, of course, Putin already seized the Crimea from Ukraine several years ago.

Putin’s playbook seems all too familiar: There are always disaffected people to “protect” in areas of interest.

So what is next, if Putin cannot be stopped now? Might he attempt to retake the ex-Soviet Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia? Or try to seize part of southern Lithuania to reconnect Russia’s Baltic territory of Kaliningrad with the rest of his domain?

Charles Berg, Kenwood

Illogic on gang assets

Any council member opposed to the passage of the gang asset forfeiture ordinance should be assumed to be profiting from the gangs — that the same reasoning used for years by government and businesses, assuming if you refused a drug test that you use illegal drugs.

Refuse to pass the law or be accused of collusion with the gangsis as valid as forced drug testing.

Mike Zaczek, Orland Park

Call it off, Putin

Donald Trump says that if he were still in the White House, the Russian invasion of Ukraine wouldn’t be happening.Maybe he should phone his good buddy Putin and say, “C’mon, pal, call it off.”

Dan McGuire, Bensenville

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