NATO, in response to an unnamed threat that is most certainly Russia, has begun developing a 4,000 strong spearhead reaction force that can enter the field of battle within 48 hours. The force is expect to be ready to be deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania according to The Independent.

Not surprisingly, the plans by NATO provoked a strong reaction in Russia who viewed the force as a threat against them. In response to NATO’s plan Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly told European Union Commission President Jose Barroso that “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.”

The statement was believed to have been a warning concerning both possible NATO aggression and further EU sanctions.

Mr Putin told Jose Manuel Barroso: “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks,” Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper reported, implying this could be the result if the EU stepped up sanctions against Russia.

His comments, relayed by Mr Barroso to colleagues at last weekend’s EU summit, emerged as Nato announced it would build a new “spearhead” rapid reaction force of up to 4,000 troops that can be flown into eastern Europe in 48 hours to respond to possible Russian aggression.

NATO has still not ruled out allowing Ukraine membership which, given the organization’s mandate, could drag it into the conflict in Ukraine. Whether a conventional war between NATO and Russia would stay conventional for long is anyone’s guess. And there is little doubt that if Russia wanted to it could take Kiev, though there might not be much left to take by the time it is all said and done.

Despite the US/EU backed coup against President Yanukovich blowing back on them to the point where Ukraine is now in pieces, the provocations go on. For some reason the US/EU can’t stop, to borrow a phrase, poking the bear. Then again, it’s easy for warmongers in the US and EU to be brave as long as Ukrainians are the ones actually doing the dying.