A new chapter of the tensions between Fly and the West opened up around Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave located between Poland and Lithuania, and therefore squeezed between NATO territories. The Vilnius authorities have decided to prevent Russian trains carrying certain types of goods from entering the territory. And the Kremlin he thundered, calling the decision “hostile” and “provocative”, announcing that, if the measure is not revoked, Russia will take “actions aimed at defending its own interests”. The warning was issued by the Moscow Foreign Ministry, which summoned the charge d’affaires of the Lithuanian embassy.
Now, with some exaggeration due to propaganda, the scenario seems to lend itself to evoking the tragic sieges that have marked Soviet history (from Leningrad to Stalingrad), fueling the complex of encirclement and the nationalist spirit of the Russians. The head of diplomacy in Vilnius, Gabrielius Landsbergis, explained that his government does nothing but apply the sanctions decided by the European Union for the invasion of Ukraine. An explanation confirmed by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell.
The restrictive measures are expected to affect around 50% of the products transported from Russia to Kaliningrad, starting with steel. However, Lithuanian clarifications were not enough to appease Russian anger. The decision in Vilnius, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, is “unprecedented”, and above all “illegal” because it would violate a 2022 agreement between Russia and the EU. Therefore the situation “is very serious” and Moscow will study the countermeasures in depth. For now, the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet – which has its headquarters in Kaliningrad – has announced that it will hold new military maneuvers in the region, using multiple Grad and Uragan rocket launch systems.
Full support for the Vilnius initiative was expressed by Ukraine. “Russia has no right to threaten Lithuania, and Moscow has only itself to blame for the consequences of the unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The region, after the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, remained under the control of Russia.
Lithuania, with the consent of the EU, has decided “to take the province of Kaliningrad hostage”, denounced the chairman of the International Affairs Commission of the Duma, Leonid Slutsky. And although Moscow has not yet specified the nature of the retaliation, the governor of the region, Anton Alikhanov, warned that it could react by hindering the transport of Lithuanian goods to the Baltic. “If you look at the map – he said – you see that the Baltic countries, their ports and their transport systems cannot do without Russia”.
Meanwhile, the bombing continues. The Russians seem to have brought attention back to Odessa which, yesterday, was targeted with numerous attacks, which destroyed a food warehouse. Moscow forces fired 14 missiles, many of which were repelled by the Ukrainians. According to the Kiev defense ministry’s analysis, however, Russia plans to take Lugansk by Sunday. The pro-Russians claimed the conquest of Toshkivka, on the western bank of the Siverskiy Donets River. From there they could try to break the defense lines and launch the decisive assault on Lysychansk, where President Volodymyr Zelensky made a secret visit yesterday to “see for himself how the situation evolves” and encourage the troops at the front. Severodonetsk, on the other hand, is now de facto in the hands of Moscow, although the armed stalemate remains with the defenders of the Azot chemical factory, barricaded in the bunkers along with more than 500 civilians, including about forty children.
Yesterday, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed what had been feared for days: the Americans captured in Ukraine are “mercenaries” – he froze the US -. They have to pay the price for their “crimes” and “cannot count on the protection of the Geneva Convention” concerning prisoners of war.
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Moscow threatens Vilnius: “Reopen Kaliningrad”. Rain of rockets over Odessa
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