Almost as soon as President Obama finished outlining his strategy to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, it became clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin once again was going to use it as an opportunity to pounce on vulnerable countries.
An Estonian policeman detained by Russian security forces and taken into Russia was charged with espionage, his lawyer told AFP Thursday. Meanwhile, Poland's state gas company said deliveries of natural gas from Russia have been cut by 45 percent this week. The BBC reported that some analysts believe Russia is punishing Poland for continuing to supply natural gas to Ukraine.
Both events occurred as Obama has been preoccupied the Islamic extremist group, which is seen by Americans as a direct threat and has become the focus of a new U.S. military campaign. Meanwhile, Obama has said the U.S. would not go to war to defend Ukraine from Russian pressure.
It's a pattern many analysts have noticed in Putin's behavior: wait until the U.S. is tied up with another crisis, then pounce. And it's worrying U.S. allies in Eastern Europe such as Estonia, who see themselves as Russia's next targets in spite of assurances from Obama and other leaders at last week's NATO summit.