Tensions over Lithuania’s blockade of Kaliningrad have soared. Though Lithuania claims to be acting solely in its obligations in fulfilling EU sanctions, a position the West has largely supported, Russia has vowed retaliation. Though previously, the potential for reversing the recognition of Lithuania was raised, the active blockade on Kaliningrad may lead to more stringent measures. Already, Russia has responded with economic measures but has quickly realized that no further means exist to pressure Lithuania without the use of force.
Contrary to a potential row over Lithuania’s decision, NATO partners have been largely supportive of Lithuania’s measures. The U.K. considered bolstering troop deployments in the Baltics, while the United States stressed that whatever actions Russia takes, President Biden’s promise to defend ‘every inch of NATO territory’ would apply.
Estonia reported a Russian helicopter violating Estonian airspace, a routine but significant provocation in light of the Kaliningrad crisis.
In Ukraine, heavy fighting has continued in Sievierodonetsk as well as neighboring Lysychansk, where Russian forces have made advances in villages outside urban areas. The United States has assessed that Russia will likely continue to make small advances but will continue to fizzle out, allowing Ukraine (if given a steady supply of modern armaments) to withstand attrition.
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