• Lithuania Restricts Russian Access to Königsberg,

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Gilbert B Norman
Whoops; that's now Kaliningrad.

The German news channel (also available in English) Deutsch Welle reports that Lithuania is now restricting trains from the Russian enclave, Kaliningrad, that are handling sanctioned goods from transiting their territory to and from "Mother Russia". Passenger trains are apparently unaffected:

https://www.dw.com/en/transit-row-betwe ... a-62238950

Fair Use:
Anyone traveling by train from Moscow to Kaliningrad must show their passport at three state borders: the Russian, Belarusian and Lithuanian. Belarus and Lithuania lie between the Russian heartland and its exclave, Kaliningrad. Belarus is still allowing all Russian trains through, but Lithuania recently banned the transit of Russian trains laden with goods that Russia is banned from importing.

For Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, this is a logical and, above all, legal implementation of the EU's sanctions on Russia. Russian politicians, however, have described Lithuania's move as a hostile blockade of the population in the Kaliningrad region. They accuse the EU member country of violating international rules on freight transport, and even human rights.

The Lithuanian ban applies to freight trains laden with, among other things, coal, metals, cement, timber, and other building materials. These are all goods that have been sanctioned by the EU in response to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, and which can therefore not be imported by Russia from the EU. The governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, has complained that the ban covers up to 50% of all goods that are transported to Kaliningrad.
A historical note; this was once the East Prussian, port city named Königsberg, which Russia captured during WWII from the Germans. It is surrounded by Lithuanian territory which was of no concern until 1989 as such was "behind the Iron Curtain" and dominated by "Mother Russia". Now that Lithuania is a NATO member and with the Alliance's indirect support of Ukraine in the present conflict, this access is very much an issue, as availability of deep-water year-round maritime access is very much an issue for Russia.
  by ExCon90
I'm sure the whole Kaliningrad situation has been eating into Putin since 1989, and suspect that Lithuania is next on his list after Ukraine if he eventually succeeds there. I imagine that Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia think so too. (Chamberlain apparently didn't think Hitler would go for Poland, either.)
  by eolesen
Going after the Baltics wouldn't surprise me, but it would likely trigger a different response from NATO....

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  by Gilbert B Norman
A very telling quote is included within this Journal essay.
At a ceremony honoring young geographers in 2016, President Vladimir Putin asked one boy about the capital of Burkina Faso and then quizzed another about where Russia’s borders end.

“At the Bering Strait with the United States,” the 9-year-old boy ventured hesitantly. Mr. Putin, who chairs the board of the Russian Geographic Society, contradicted the boy to triumphant applause. “The borders of Russia,” he pronounced, “never end.”
Even if Putin succeeds (I fear he will) in conquering the Russian cultured Eastern Ukranian provinces, rendering Ukraine a landlocked sovereignty, attacking Lithuania, a NATO member, would result in direct US combat operations.

With the ineptness of his armed forces that have now been displayed to the world, he knows "we'd smoke him".
  by ExCon90
Based on what he's doing to Ukraine I sometimes wonder whether Putin is so far round the bend that he no longer recognizes reality -- he seems in some ways to resemble Hitler and the remaining fanatical Nazi diehards in 1945 who simply decided to destroy what they couldn't conquer. His fundamental desire to restore his conception of the prestige and international standing of the Stalin-era USSR has been made impossible in his lifetime by the fiasco in Ukraine, and if that finally dawns on him he might do anything.