NATO-member Lithuania has been warned by Russia not to impede its transit of Russian goods through its territory. Lithuania has halted the transit of EU-sanctioned goods to Kaliningrad by rail, a move that may pose a severe threat to the region’s food security. Moreover, Lithuania’s move to close the transit route could harm Lithuania’s economic interests, as it could affect its relationship with the United States.
A land attack to cut a passage through Lithuania would cause NATO to invoke Article 5 defence and launch a direct attack against Lithuania. This scenario would push NATO into an all-out war. Russia is struggling to meet strategic objectives in Ukraine, but this move would stretch NATO supply lines and split its forces. The EU is coordinating with Lithuania’s diplomatic missions in Russia to prevent escalation.
The Russian Federation has repeatedly warned that if NATO-member Lithuania fails to comply with its demands, it could create a land corridor connecting the two countries. Moreover, Russia has frequently lamented the independence of the former Soviet republics. As a result, Lithuania has decided to implement the sanctions imposed on Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to his intervention in Ukraine.
The issue with Kaliningrad has long been a source of friction between the two countries. The former annexed the Baltic states with Russia in 1940, but after the collapse of the USSR, Lithuania pushed for independence. The West has feared Russian military action to secure the land corridor. Poland shares the Suwalki Gap with Lithuania, which is 65 kilometers wide.
While fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian military officials have acknowledged the loss of several communities near Lysychansk. According to the head of the regional military administration in Luhansk, Russian troops are currently occupying several villages south of the town. They have also advanced toward the town of Bila Hora. However, it is difficult for Ukrainian soldiers to hold their positions. Hayday suggested that the bombardment of Lysychansk has reduced Ukrainian military defenses in the area.
The EU was quick to respond to Russia’s action. It warned Lithuania that it would suffer severe negative consequences. It also blocked the transit of rail shipments to Kaliningrad. Lithuania is also a NATO-member. A major source of Russian gas, the country began pumping reduced volumes through Ukraine since last July. The resulting supply crisis has forced European Union states to enact new measures to combat the energy crisis.