SITREP – Tension Between Russia and Lithuania over Kaliningrad
June 22, 2022
Lithuania has announced that it will impose restrictions on rail between Kaliningrad and Russia for goods affected by EU sanctions (Reuters story). Russia is clearly angered by this action. We have discussed Kaliningrad as a potential issue on several Academy Geopolitical calls. It has always been an outlier as there is no land route to Kaliningrad. Anything to Russia can either go through Latvia/Lithuania (both NATO members) or Belarus (acted as a Russian puppet during the build-up to the attack on Ukraine and remains staunchly on Russia’s side).
- From an economic perspective, Kaliningrad is an important Baltic Sea port as it has better and easier access than St. Petersburg.
- From a military perspective, Russia has maintained a nuclear presence here. Russia (according to Academy’s Geopolitical Intelligence Group) has made the base strategically important, possibly to use as a pretext for some action in the future.