We explain the tensions between Russia and Lithuania around the Kaliningrad Enclave

It is a small part of Russia on the shores of the Baltic Sea, between Poland and Lithuania, cut off from the rest of the national territory. The Kaliningrad Russian Enclave, with a population of nearly one million, has long been the center of the diplomatic crisis between Russia and Lithuania. The direct effect of European sanctions on the Russian economy in retaliation for the war in Ukraine. Descriptions.

Freight traffic through Lithuania is restricted

In mid-June, Lithuania imposed restrictions on rail transport from other parts of Russia to the Kaliningrad region and across its border. The products involved are targeted by European barriers, especially metals, cement, alcohol, fertilizers or technical products. List to be extended to coal and oil.

Anton Alikhanov, governor of the Kaliningrad region (region), issued a condemnation. “Siege”. He estimated that 40-50% of enclave distribution via Lithuania could be affected. As for Moscow, these restrictions violate an agreement between Russia and the European Union since 2002 when Lithuania, a former Soviet republic, joined the European Union. It was announced on Monday that goods that can no longer be transported by train will begin to be transported by sea. “In a week”.

Moscow threatens to retaliate against Vilnius

Nikolai Badrushev, secretary of the powerful Russian Security Council, visited Kaliningrad on Tuesday, during a heavy symbolic march. “Of course, Russia will react to such hostilityHe warned, quoted by Russian news agencies. Measures are being taken at the inter-ministerial level and will be implemented soon. ” Be warned that these are revenge “Severe adverse effects on the people of Lithuania”.

In response, Marcus Eder, chairman of the European Union’s delegation to Russia, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Tuesday. The Lithuanian official in Moscow, for his part, has been invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry. In a statement, it accused Russian diplomacy of promoting the EU “Increase” They also demanded the immediate resumption of traffic in Kaliningrad.

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With the support of the European Union, Lithuania is defending itself

Relations between Russia and Lithuania (along with the other two Baltic states) have been smooth for many years. Lithuania was the first Soviet republic to declare independence in 1990. And like Latvia and Estonia, it has been a member of NATO and the European Union since the 2000s.

In response to Russian allegations of actions “Hostility”Lithuanian officials made it clear that their restrictions were limited to the use of European decisions in Moscow. “Traffic to and from Kaliningrad has not been halted. Passenger trains continue to operate, as well as unauthorized cargo.” Lina Laurinaityte-Grigiene, spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Customs Service.

“This is not what Lithuania did, the European sanctions that came into effect on June 17.”

Gabriel Landsbergis, Head of Lithuanian Diplomacy

During a speech during a trip to Luxembourg

Lithuania has not introduced any unilateral, personal or additional measures for transport, The Lithuanian Foreign Minister continued in a statement. The country has been implementing various EU sanctions, all of which are for the interim period and have different timeframes for implementation. “

Joseph Borel, the head of European diplomacy, confirmed the reports. “Ground transport between Russia and Kaliningrad has not been stopped or banned. Passenger and cargo traffic continues. No siege.”, He stressed following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. Kiev also extended its support to Vilnius. “Russia has no right to threaten Lithuania”The head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmitry Kuleba announced on Twitter.

The most militarized strategic Russian territory

Kaliningrad Oblast (formerly known as Kிக்nigsberg) was now part of Prussia and later part of Germany for centuries. It was captured by Nazi Germany in 1945 by the Soviet Union. Since the end of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Baltic countries in the early 1990s, 15,000 km2 (equivalent to two French territories) has been cut off from the rest. Of Russia. But it was an important strategic asset both economically and militarily. The enclave has two ice-free ports – Kaliningrad and Baltisk And road and rail links to trade with its neighbors. After all, Kaliningrad is a Russian military outpost in Europe: a strategically isolated area, especially in the context of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over the war in Ukraine.

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The region has an important military heritage. Thus it served as a defensive fort during the Cold War. In the face of NATO’s expansion, Moscow has strengthened its military presence there, and significantly organized major maneuvers there. Most recently, between June 9 and 19, Interfax said it had mobilized 10,000 soldiers and sixty boats. Kaliningrad also houses the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet. In recent years, missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons and air defense systems have been installed there. In February, Russia also deployed hypersonic missiles there, shortly before its troops entered Ukraine.

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