The Edge of War: NATO Member Cuts Off Russian Territory From Moscow


The governments of Russia and Lithuania are sparring over a brand-new restriction on rail transport of items to the Russian port and region sandwiched between Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea.. Lithuania’s state-owned train blocked the delivery of particular products to Kaliningrad, a Baltic port, on June 18. The Russian region or oblast is surrounded by Poland and Lithuania and is only accessible to Russia by sea.

Lithuania Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis defended the decision on June 20, mentioning the restriction came from the European Union sanctions enforced on Russia in the wake of its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s not Lithuania doing anything: it’s European sanctions that started working from 17 of June,” said Landsbergis in a statement. “Sanctioned goods (will) no longer be allowed to transit Lithuanian territory.”

The list of prohibited items includes coal, metals such as steel and iron, construction material, and advanced technology.

Products are usually shipped to the location by means of trains, which take a trip from Belarus through Lithuania and to the Kaliningrad region.

“If cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation via Lithuania is not fully restored in the near future, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, per the Independent.

The governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, has reportedly estimated that 50% of the products imported to the area might be impacted by the ban.

The primary base for Russia’s Baltic Fleet in addition to its 11th army corps are positioned in Kaliningrad, formerly known as the German city of Königsberg before WWII. The area also houses  “an arsenal of advanced weaponry, including hypersonic Kinzhal missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander launchers,” reports The Sunday Times.

“This decision is really unprecedented. It’s a violation of everything,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov to reporters, per Reuters. “We consider this illegal. The situation is more than serious … it requires in-depth analysis before we formulate our response and next steps.”

In keeping with EU sanctions, a limitation on the transport of concrete and alcohol will start on July 10 and on the transportation of coal on Aug. 10. Russian oil will no longer be enabled to transit through any EU nation beginning in December.

An approximate 430,000 individuals live in Kaliningrad. No open land route exists between the enclave and Poland. The Russian citizens there are currently depending on ferries between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg to move the now restricted products.

The Russian government’s contingency plan consists of 7 extra ferryboats to the path by the end of 2022 but it is not yet in place.

Lithuania is a full member of NATO and any military action against it would trigger an Article 5 response and plunge the entire alliance, the US, UK, Turkey, and EU Members included, into war with the Russian Federation. In short: this is the closest to World War III we’ve ever come since the fall of the Soviet Union.

H/T Timcast

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