There is a possibility that tension between NATO and Russia could erupt into a conflict as NATO conducts a new military operation.
Massive NATO war games dubbed Operation Persistent Presence are underway in Latvia to counter any invasion by Russian forces which have been amassing on its doorstep.
Officials fear Russian minorities – who make up 25% of the population in Latvia and Estonia – could receive backing from Kremlin to fight against the majority population.
Putin could then send his troops in to back the minority rebels of the Baltic states which were controlled by Moscow until the fall of the Soviet Union.
As part of Operation Persistent Presence, Germany has deployed 80 specialised troops and 400 tonnes of equipment, including a deployable mobile control centre which can track Russian aircraft.
Five German Eurofighter jets are also flying Baltic air patrols out of the Amari base in northern Estonia.
Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube, commander of the Latvian armed forces, said: “Our biggest concern is the unpredictability of Russia.
“It has proven in Georgia and Crimea and eastern Ukraine that it is ready, for whatever reason, to take military action.”
Latvia has doubled its military spending over the past two years in response to the apparent threat from Russian forces and is mulling over whether to draft people into the armed services.
Estonia has commited itself to conscripting men and neighbouring Lithuania reintroduced the manpower measure in March.
As reported, Germany is considering bringing back national service and citizens have been advised to “stockpile food and water” and prepare for attack.
In July NATO leaders agreed in July to move four battalions of up to 4,000 troops to the Baltic states and eastern Poland for the first time.
Early this year the British Government announced it was deploying of a 500-strong battalion to Estonia.
Another company of 150 troops will be stationed in Poland “on an enduring basis” as the UK tries to block a Russian invasion.
Putin is furious with the Polish authorities for allowing the US to locate its missile defence shield on its territory – effectively rendering his missiles redundant because they can be shot down.
Already the Kremlin has threatened to rocket the missile launch sites before they are ready which would lead to NATO striking back at Russia – raising the possibility of a major European conflict.
US defence expert Mark Schneider said: “Russia is getting ready for a big war which they assume will go nuclear, with them launching the first attacks.
“We are not serious about preparing for a big war, much less a nuclear war.”
Evidence is growing that Putin is preparing for nuclear war with bunkers and new nuclear weapons under development.