Dangerous tensions have arisen in the direction of Lithuania. Shocking and war-mongering statements are made that the hand has been “opened” to solve the problem “in any way”. Such statements by Russia were made after the entry into force of the relevant EU sanctions restricting transit to the Lithuanian region of Kaliningrad. Delphi notes that the Russians knew what awaited them in mid-June, but now all their anger is directed not at Brussels, but at Vilnius.
LTG Cargo Lithuanian Railways has informed Kaliningrad railway workers in advance that the transit of many goods by rail will be banned. Because the European Union has adopted sanctions and so on. Russia, meanwhile, has begun to play a game: as if it were an unexpected decision, Lithuania is “shamelessly” taking unilateral and illegal steps, and a de facto blockade has been declared in Kaliningrad.
A real hysteria has begun in the Russian information space. Calls for “concrete response measures against Lithuania” are warlike and threatening.
Andrei Klimov, chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Interim Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty and Prevention of Interference in Internal Affairs, has shown real hysteria. He called on the EU to force Lithuania to lift restrictions on transit to Kaliningrad, adding that Russia’s hand would be “opened” and that it would “solve the problem on its own.”
“If the EU does not immediately correct the shameless step of Vilnius, then we will open our hands to deny the legitimacy of all documents related to Lithuania’s EU membership and to solve the Kaliningrad transit problem created by Lithuania in any way we choose,” Klimov wrote in a telegram. He also said that Vilnius had “knocked down its own chair” during its years as an EU member. Klimov said that in his opinion, NATO has effectively blocked the Russian region at the hands of one of the member states.
According to him, the beginning of the blockade can be considered as a direct aggression against Russia, forcing them to “immediately resort to the necessary self-defense.”
But what can Moscow really do? And what steps should be taken against it?
Russian political analyst Konstantin Eggert (Vilnius) shared his views with the Press Club:
– Do not pay attention to the statements of such deputies or senators of the Russian State Duma. These people are engaged in propaganda and noise, but in fact they do not make any decisions.
As for Lithuania, the Kremlin initially really hoped that it could isolate Vilnius from the EU and “punish” it by itself. Or, conversely, it will force the EU to enter into some negotiations with Moscow on Kaliningrad transit. In either case, it would be a political gain for the Kremlin. On the one hand, he wanted to show that nothing depends on Lithuania, and on the other hand, he would show the world that despite the aggression against Ukraine, Western countries are still forced to negotiate with Putin. But this did not happen. In my opinion, today’s threats from Moscow have no serious basis. Relations between Russia and the Republic of Lithuania are already practically below zero. All measures that the Russian Federation can take, such as a general ban on Lithuanian citizens entering Russia, will not be a terrible blow.
Another issue is that there are measures that limit Russia’s possible aggression. For example, the closure of Lithuanian airspace, the blockade by Russian air defense systems stationed in Belarus. Or he may try to close the seaport of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s largest. However, both of these actions will be seen as a declaration of war and will undoubtedly provoke a very strong reaction from NATO. And it is known that Putin rarely attacks someone stronger than himself.
There is another option. Lithuania has long been discussing the infiltration of some “polite people” without identification on their clothes, the demolition of the mayor’s office of a Lithuanian border town, and their subsequent escape across the border immediately after the annexation of Crimea. This will force NATO to consider whether this step is aggression. But it seems to me that such provocations, which should show the weakness of the union and the lack of unity, are a thing of the past. Today, such a provocative act will be perceived primarily as a direct aggression by the Lithuanians themselves, and they will open fire on the provocateurs. Therefore, I think that Moscow will not take any radical steps. Because there are practically no such measures. The existing measures will lead it to a direct confrontation with NATO. I do not think that the Kremlin will go for it in the context of the ongoing war with Ukraine.