, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Lithuania 'excludes' Kaliningrad: 'We will respond' says Moscow - Concern over generalized ignition 4289

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Lithuania 'excludes' Kaliningrad: 'We will respond' says Moscow - Concern over generalized ignition

 The area occupied by the "red army" after the end of World War II by Germany, is essentially within the territory of the member states of the European Union. Its importance and logistics exclusion.

The dispute between Russia and Lithuania is escalating after the Baltic state blocked the transport of goods subject to sanctions to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Lithuania says it is following EU directives, but Moscow is threatening to say "how to respond". Lithuania insists on aligning itself with the rest of the EU, with the European bloc and the US providing support to Vilnius.

For his part, Zelensky said that Europe's decision on Kaliningrad "is very important to us", while standing by Russia's "anti-European policy". "Russia feels a constant increase in pressure for war and for its aggressive anti-European policy," he said.

The Kaliningrad enclave is Russia's westernmost territory and the only part of the country surrounded by EU states. As of Monday, CNN reported that the Lithuanian Railways, the state-owned railway company, would no longer allow trains carrying goods subject to EU sanctions.

As you will see in the map below, Lithuania is located east of the enclave, with Poland to the south.

Moscow responded angrily to Lithuania's move. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peshkov called the move "unprecedented and illegal." The Lithuanian envoy to Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and informed that if the transfer of goods to the Kaliningrad region is not fully restored, Russia reserves the right to take action to protect its national interests.

"Russia will definitely respond to such hostile actions. We are working on measures that will be taken in the near future. The consequences will be serious," Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, told RIA Novosti. negative impact on the population of Lithuania ".

According to the Russian state news agency TASS, the products subject to sanctions include construction machinery, machine tools and other industrial equipment. Some luxury items are also included. Products subject to sanctions will now have to travel by sea, which raises shipping costs.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry reiterated that it has not imposed unilateral restrictions and that it is in line with EU directives. photos of Russia's invasion of Ukraine appear as part of Lithuanians' protest against the invasion.

The strategic importance and the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant

Kaliningrad was for a number of years a heavily militarized area, closed to foreigners. But in recent years Kaliningrad has become an emerging tourist destination and has hosted matches during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It has a population of about one million inhabitants, the majority of whom live in the homonymous capital. The port of the region is the westernmost port in Russia and is largely ice-free all year round. Also in the pocket is the Suwalki Corridor, the only land connection between the Baltic states and the rest of the European Union.

Kaliningrad is also the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet. RIA Novosti reported Monday that the fleet began scheduled missile and artillery drills, involving 1,000 soldiers and 100 units.

In 2002, the EU and Moscow reached an agreement on open access to Russia to Kaliningrad, before Poland and Lithuania joined the European Union in 2004. Russia now claims that the 2002 agreement has been violated.

Kaliningrad became even more important to Russia with the planned accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. Dmitry Medvedev, the vice-president of the Russian National Security Council, recently said that with the Alliance's accession plans, "we can no longer talk about a non-nuclear regime in the Baltic. The balance must be restored."

Russia has not acknowledged that it has nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad, but in 2018 the Federation of American Scientists concluded that Russia had significantly upgraded a nuclear weapons depot in the region, based on satellite image analysis.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania urged NATO to increase troop deployments on its territory. At the same time, he called for strengthening the safety of the Suwalki corridor, which is vital for the country.

The US supports Lithuania

However, the United States has stated its support for Lithuania, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in the face of Russian threats against Vilnius.

US diplomat Ned Price reiterated to reporters Washington's "unwavering" commitment to NATO Article 5, which stipulates that "an attack on an allied country is an attack on all". "We support our NATO allies and we support Lithuania," he said, welcoming the European Union's imposition of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

"We have strengthened our commitment to the Alliance, we have strengthened the eastern side of NATO, especially those countries that are at the forefront of the Russian threat," he insisted.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, EU spokesman Peter Stano said the EU ambassador to Moscow had called on Russia to refrain from "escalating steps and rhetoric" and to shift the EU's position on Russia's aggression against Ukraine. "Lithuania applies the sanctions and there is no unilateral exclusion."

Concerns about "Suwałki Gap"

However, former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has also expressed concern since 2015, in a meeting he had with Ursula von der Leyen when she was still Germany's defense minister.

What is worrying is that in an escalation of the conflict with the West, Russia could close this corridor by cutting off the Baltic states from their allies to the South.

Such a move would also result in a direct confrontation between Moscow and NATO's nuclear-armed members, pushing the world to the brink of an unprecedented conflict, according to Politico. Politico even describes this corridor as "the most dangerous spot on the planet" at the moment.

Ilves' warning was a reaction to Russia's annexation of Crimea, but the dark scenarios now seem to take on a different meaning.

The West is not currently worried about a possible new military action by Putin in the Baltic, but according to Politico, the Russian leader is betting that he wants to look unpredictable.

Mikhail Kasyanov, Russia's former prime minister under Putin, poured more oil on the fire last week, predicting that "the Baltic states will be next" if Ukraine falls. The expected accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, however, is expected to increase tensions between Russia and the Alliance. The addition of the two Nordic countries could make it more difficult for Russia to cut the Baltic from the rest of the Alliance, which is sure to provoke reactions from Putin.

In any case, Lithuania, like its Baltic neighbors, is inadequately equipped for a - theoretical - Russian attack.

"The only answer to this challenge is the increased NATO presence here," said Margiris Abukevičius, Lithuania's deputy defense minister. "We know how obsessed Russia is with closing land corridors," he said in a statement a few hours ago.

During a visit to Vilnius earlier this month, German Chancellor Olaf Solz tried to reassure his hosts by saying Germany would send a "strong brigade" to Lithuania, implying that thousands of troops would be deployed.

Eventually, Germany transferred only 50 soldiers as guards.

The exposure of the Baltic countries to Russian aggression is expected to be a key issue at the next NATO Summit, which will be of great importance. Officials have signaled that NATO will significantly strengthen forces in the Baltic and the EU's eastern borders, heralding a historic change in NATO's stance.

Another key factor in the region's defense is Poland, which has the largest army in the region.

Historical disputes between Poles and Lithuanians in the Suwałki corridor over language and minority rights on both sides of the border have led to speculation that Putin could "use" these tensions to his advantage, similar to the tactics used by followed in Donbass. For now, Lithuania and Poland have come closer in recent hours to the common threat from Moscow.

In any case, the next period of time is expected to be more than tense.

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