One of the most important questions was whether our response to the Lithuanian measures would be solely diplomatic. The answer to this is no.
This was stated by spokeswoman Maria Zakharova at the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
At the same time, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned NATO and the United States against using the threat of Article 5 of the NATO Charter in connection with what is happening now.
Article 5 states that an attack on a country must be viewed as an attack on all NATO members. The Defense Alliance continues to be committed to supporting the country that has been attacked.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said of one Heading Tuesday Article 5 of the NATO Charter on Mutual Defense is consistent, as well as regarding measures that Russia can take towards Lithuania.
Kaliningrad increasingly isolated
At the end of the week, Lithuanian railways made it clear that they would no longer allow transit to and from the Kaliningrad enclave of goods covered by EU sanctions against Russia.
This applies, among other things, to building materials, coal, minerals and cement.
According to the governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, these goods constitute between 40 and 50 percent of all freight transported by rail through Lithuania to and from Kaliningrad.
Passenger traffic continues
Already, in line with EU sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Lithuania has closed its airspace to aircraft to and from the Kaliningrad enclave.
Passengers and non-sanctioned goods will continue to be allowed to pass through Lithuania by train. This is according to message Sent by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.
Lithuania has defended the measures now being introduced, saying they are fully in line with EU sanctions against Russia.
The country has received the full support of the European Union in this view.
Today, Poland and Lithuania lie between the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Russia’s close ally Belarus, separated by the so-called Swalki Corridors.
At its narrowest, that’s only about 100 kilometres.
This particular corridor has long been seen as an area where the conflict between Russia and NATO could turn into an all-out war.
There was speculation that Russia, through a false attack from Belarus and Kaliningrad, would attempt to establish a highway connection to its enclave in the West.
Norwegian soldiers are there
In the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine, NATO significantly increased its military presence in Poland and Lithuania.
The Norwegian soldiers are part of a German-led force of 1,600 men and women located in Rukla, 140 km north of the border between Poland and Lithuania.
Ukraine crisis: Norway sends troops to Lithuania
In addition, after the Russian attack on Ukraine, NATO prepared a rapid reaction force of about 40 thousand that could be sent to Lithuania and the Baltic states at short notice.
Tensions are rising in the Baltic Sea region
However, few believe that Russia, controlled by the war in Ukraine, would risk a full-fledged military confrontation with Lithuania, a NATO country, because of what is happening around Kaliningrad.
Lithuania has already become independent of Russian gas, oil and electricity imports, as one of the first in Eastern Europe.
This means that Russia has relatively limited opportunities to pressure it “in non-diplomatic ways,” as spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says it will.
However, there are many who fear that tension with this will increase further in the Baltic Sea region, where it appears that Sweden and Finland will soon become members of NATO.
Russia now more than ever depends on airspace and sea to supply the Kaliningrad enclave.
All transfers must take place in the narrow international waters of the Gulf of Finland, between Finland and Estonia.
The question is whether a solution can be found to calm the situation, for example. By granting Lithuania a full or partial exemption from the EU sanctions regime.
With the now sharp fronts between NATO and Russia, there is not much to suggest.
This is despite the fact that both sides emphasized that they did not want a direct confrontation, which at worst could lead to a third world war.
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