Why Kaliningrad, Russia’s toehold in Europe, could be the war’s next flashpoint – CNN
Tensions are mounting around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which could soon be dragged into the Kremlin’s war. Lithuania says it merely upholds European Union sanctions, and the European bloc has backed it.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, experts have feared that Kaliningrad could become a flashpoint in tensions between Moscow and Europe. On Monday, Lithuanian officials threatened a response to Russia’s actions.
The European Union has barred some products from being exported to Russian territory, including construction machinery, machine tools, and other industrial equipment. Lithuania has not imposed “unilateral, individual or additional” restrictions, its foreign ministry said.
The regional government of Kaliningrad was forced to urge residents not to panic buy in response to the spat. Lithuanian officials said the transit of passengers and goods to the region continues uninterrupted.
Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. It was captured by Soviet troops from Nazi Germany in April 1945 and became part of Soviet territory due to the Potsdam Agreement.
Kaliningrad is the only overland link between the Baltic states and the rest of the European Union, and it is also the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet.
The planned accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO has made Kaliningrad’s importance to Russia even more significant, and Russia has long balked at the presence of NATO countries around Kaliningrad.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Why Kaliningrad, Russia’s toehold in Europe, could be the next flashpoint in its war against Ukraine – CNN
- What is Kaliningrad, the Russian Baltic exclave surrounded by NATO? – The Washington Post
- Russia-Ukraine Latest News: June 21, 2022 – Bloomberg
- Russia tells Lithuania: your citizens will feel the pain over Kaliningrad – Reuters