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The small countries on the EU’s eastern flank may be at risk due to the Ukrainian crisis, warns an EU Parliament minister.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine puts neighboring EU countries at risk of disruption from cyberattacks and the spread of disinformation, according to a report in POLITICO.

“The Baltic states, for Russia, are the easiest way to put pressure on the EU and NATO … This is the place where we have to pay careful attention,” said Bart Groothuis, Liberal member of the European Parliament and former cybersecurity official at the Dutch Ministry of Defense.

Groothuis is leading a delegation of MEPs on visits to Estonia and Lithuania. He described this as a “show of solidarity” with Ukraine.

Those two Baltic countries are already involved in a cyber defense operation to support Ukraine through the EU’s Cyber Rapid Response Team, which was activated Tuesday.

The three Baltic states have often been the target of campaigns by Russian state-backed hacking groups. These groups target both public and private institutions. The EU attributed a campaign known as “Ghostwriter” at least in part to Russia. This was after it first plagued Baltic countries with phishing emails and disinformation campaigns. The group then moved on to target Polish and German politicians. Estonia and Lithuania have also emerged as vocal proponents of a tougher response to Russian cyber aggression.

Three Baltic nations call for increased defences from NATO

The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have called for additional NATO forces to bolster their security. This is as Russia encircles Ukraine and tightens its grip on neighbouring Belarus.

Officials in the Baltics are now on high alert. They expect more attacks to come from Russia as the conflict in Ukraine escalates. The small European Union states have called for years for a more determined stance against Russia. The current crisis in Ukraine has only heightened their feeling of vulnerability.