The Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, a strip of land landlocked between Lithuania and Poland, could bring NATO to intervene and as a result, break o
The Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, a strip of land landlocked between Lithuania and Poland, could bring NATO to intervene and as a result, break out into a full-blown World War III. In a sign of escalation of tension between the European Union and Russia, Putin’s security chief Nikolai Patrushev threatened to retaliate after Lithuania blocked the transit of sanctioned goods to the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad in line with EU sanctions. “Russia will respond to such hostile actions,” Mr Patrushev said. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister tried to ease tensions with Russia, saying his country was only enacting EU sanctions.
According to Jane Harman, distinguished fellow and President Emerita of the Woodrow Wilson Centre, a Putin-led Russian military incursion in Lithuania would spark a NATO backlash and consequently, break into a Third World War.
When asked whether Russia is rattling a sabre with Lithuania, she said: “Yes, it is. And the Baltics are countries that need to be protected.
“I mean, this brings in NATO. And yes, Putin is flexing his muscles around. But this is exactly why we have to fight back as hard as possible.
“Freedom is at stake. It’s interesting. It’s both ends. Freedom is at stake in the US with respect to this investigation on what happened on January 6, and freedom is at stake in the world with respect to where Russia ends up after this vicious, brutal, unprincipled, illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
Kaliningrad is a 5,800 square mile Russian enclave located between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea which has no border with Russia. The region’s bulk of goods comes from Russia through Lithuania mainly by rail.
Every year, millions of oil, coke and coal move through Lithuania to provide the enclave with the goods needed to sustain its 1 million inhabitants. But under the new EU sanctions, most Russian goods are banned from entering the EU and Lithuania.
While on a visit to Kaliningrad, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said Lithuania’s blockade was “in violation of international law.”
“Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania,” he said, according to the Russian-state RIA Novosti news agency.
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He added: “Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions. Measures are being worked out in an interdepartmental format and will be taken in the near future.
“Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the Lithuanian population.”
After a meeting in Kaliningrad, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement: “The inadmissibility of such actions, which violate the relevant legal and political obligations of the European Union and lead to an escalation of tensions, was pointed out.”
In its defence, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said: “It’s not Lithuania doing anything: it’s European sanctions that started working from 17 June… It was done with consultation from the European Commission and under European Commission guidelines.”
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