Wedged between Russian ally Belarus and the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, Lithuania is worried that it could be the next target of Russian aggression following invasions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine
“They (the Kremlin) need a corridor from Kaliningrad to mainland Russia,” Marius Laurinavicius, a senior Lithuanian analyst at the Eastern Europe studies center in Vilnius, told Reuters. “Just like they need one from Crimea to Donbas (in eastern Ukraine).”
Vilnius is so concerned over possible Russian aggression that the state is currently voting on a bill to reinstate military conscription. The move would introduce approximately 3,000 new soldiers into the Lithuania military.
In May 2014, Russia unilaterally suspended a 2001 agreement with Lithuania that allowed Lithuania to inspect all of Russia’s forces in Kaliningrad in exchange for Russian inspections of military sites in Lithuania.
“Such a move by Russia demonstrates Russia’s unwillingness to ensure mutual trust and can be deemed another move towards the destruction of the mutual trust and security system in Europe,” a statement from Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defense noted after the treaty was suspended.
by Jeremy Bender
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