Ex-NATO commander calls for Russian region to be ‘neutralized’ — RT World News

James Stavridis has described Kaliningrad as a “geographic wedge” between members of the bloc

Former NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis suggested that members of the US-led military bloc should do so “deactivate” Kaliningrad exclave in Russia's far west if Moscow seriously threatens the security of the Baltic states.

Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) belonged to Germany until the end of World War II, when it was handed over to the Soviet Union under the Potsdam Agreement. It remained part of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and after several successive waves of NATO expansion, it found itself completely surrounded by members of the bloc.

In a Bloomberg op-ed, published on Thursday as Russia marked the 79th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, Stavridis said: the summary His views are on Kaliningrad as the last remaining nuisance preventing the Baltic Sea from turning into a sea “Nato Lake.”

“A quick look at the map shows that this is largely (but not entirely) true – the coastline includes two pieces of Russian territory. The rest of the coastline is in NATO hands: Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark. Written by a retired US Navy Admiral and former Supreme Commander of NATO.

Stavridis praised last year's Baltic Operations exercises as evidence of this “How NATO can use its forces in the Baltic Sea across the range of maritime activities” To send “Ominous signal” to Russia.

“We look forward to NATO using its Baltic Lake to put pressure on tiny Kaliningrad, which acts as a geographic wedge between NATO’s Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – and the rest of the alliance.” Stavridis wrote. “In the event of war, Kaliningrad would have to be neutralized so that Russian ground forces — likely operating through Moscow’s Belarus state — could not control the critical Suwalki gap.”

The Suwalki Gap is a narrow strip of land located between Belarus, an ally of Moscow, and Kaliningrad, and runs along the border between Lithuania and Poland. Following the conflict in Ukraine, NATO's Baltic states restricted land traffic between the Russian mainland and Kaliningrad under an EU embargo. However, they stopped short of imposing a complete blockade, with some analysts suggesting that denying Russia access to its territory could be considered, to some extent, a “causa bello” – a reason to declare war.

Amid the standoff between Russia and NATO, Warsaw and Vilnius recently held military exercises in the strategic region, with Western media and officials speculating that Russia could target this region in the event of a large-scale conflict.

Russia has repeatedly denied any plans to attack the alliance, with President Vladimir Putin confirming this “It has no interest… geopolitical, economic or military.” To do that.

He added: “Russia will do its best to prevent a global conflict, but at the same time we will not allow anyone to threaten us.” Putin stated this in his speech before the military parade on the occasion of Victory Day in Moscow.

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