'Sh*t Is Beginning To Spiral': Will Russia Expand Its Offensive Into Lithuania? NATO Thinks So

By Mark Gruber | Wednesday, 29 June 2022 05:15
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A limitation on railway cargoes from mainland Russia across Lithuania has put a severe emphasis on a risky border between NATO and Russia.

“We have more than 40,000 troops under direct NATO command, most of them in the eastern part of the alliance and many of them in the Baltic region,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday. “The purpose of this increased presence is to send a message that we are ready to protect and defend every inch of allied territory, including of course Lithuania and the other Baltic countries.”

Stoltenberg reminded amid an unfolding debate over Lithuania’s announcement that Russia would not be permitted to ship certain commodities, such as cement, across Lithuania rail lines to Kaliningrad. That condition, imposed under the auspices of European Union sanctions, was met by a flurry of cyberattacks and Russian state media broadcasts that Russian President Vladimir Putin could initiate a war of conquest against Lithuania.

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“We understand perfectly well that when the [Russia] armed forces achieve the goals set by the president and reach the western border of Ukraine, the rest will certainly not be about Ukraine,” Russian lawmaker Andrey Gurulyov said this weekend in a state media broadcast translated by the Russian Media Monitor’s Julia Davis. “Yes, the taming of Lithuania is being considered.”

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Gurulyov, a former senior Russian general, suggested that the variety of Russian energy resources and military powers would allow Moscow to win a war against NATO — and claimed that he had studied target lists during his military career.

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“No less than 40% of crude oil is imported and processed by the Netherlands in its coastal areas. It's such a small spot that it would be hard to miss,” he said, outlining one prospective attack. “Europe will not only freeze but totally croak. There are many pressure points like this. I won’t discuss all of them. I was professionally looking at all of that. It would be nuts to claim that they’re invincible.”

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Such a process would first establish "a safe corridor” for Russia to Kaliningrad. He suggested at first that it could be initiated from Belarus, which is separated from Kalingrad only by a short strip of Polish-Lithuanian border known as the Suwalki Gap. Yet he broadened the threat in a subsequent state media appearance by suggesting that it would be better to attack all three Baltic States — Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

“We need to break through for a corridor from St. Petersburg along the Baltic Sea coast,” the Russian member of parliament said. “Only then will we have a normal supply route for the city of Kaliningrad. ... We’ll go it alone. No need to involve Belarus.”

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