Russia’s brutal invasion and occupation of large parts of Ukraine has initiated a conflict that will last many years — and threatens to expand to several other European nations including members of NATO.
Lithuania has infuriated Putin by placing Konigsberg under international sanctions in accordance with EU policy. The distant Russian colony suffers from a supply line vulnerability, and is difficult to supply without rail service through Lithuania.
- Finland’s armed forces chief said the country has been preparing for war against Russia for decades
- Lithuania blocked goods sanctioned by the EU from reaching the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad
- US said it would defend fellow NATO member Lithuania if Russia launched attack
- Russia vowed to retaliate with measures that ‘will have a serious negative impact on the Lithuanian population’ after country blocked coal and metals from Russia
- Source: Daily Mail
Lithuania has shut the route to steel and other ferrous metals, which it says it is required to do under EU sanctions that took effect on Saturday, imposed in response to Russia’s decision to send its armed forces into Ukraine.
Kaliningrad is connected to the rest of Russia by a rail link through Lithuania, a member of the EU and NATO. Source: DM
Russia is also denied the airspace over the free Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Finland and Poland. Konigsberg (called Kaliningrad by its Russian occupiers) will never have a better opportunity to break free from Russian shackles — until Russia collapses altogether, of course, which Putin seems determined to bring to pass. Occupied Konigsberg is not a happy or prosperous place, but once Russia is kicked out it is likely to recover nicely.
The Kremlin has warned Lithuania of “serious consequences” for its application of EU sanctions on certain goods, including Russian steel and iron ore. Baltic diplomats, meanwhile, have told Newsweek that Moscow is “trolling” its NATO rivals and probing for weaknesses in the alliance’s unified front on Ukraine.
The EU measures—part of the response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine—were agreed as part of the bloc’s fourth sanctions package in March, some of which came into force this weekend.
Restrictions on goods including Russian oil, coal, cement and alcohol are due to come into force at different points between now and December. This may yet deepen the dispute over Kaliningrad, a Connecticut-sized exclave that is largely reliant on overland connections running from Russia through Lithuania.Intensifying Blockade of Konigsberg
As EU sanctions against Russia steadily intensify, Russia’s weaknesses will multiply under the strain. Russian oil is finding it more and more difficult to leave the country, as Ukrainian attacks against oil infrastructure and insurance company sanctions against tankers that carry Russian oil begin to exert a cumulative impact. Russian oil production is in danger of being largely shut-in.
Russia is finding it ever harder to find sufficient troops to carry out its illegal invasion of its peaceful neighbor Ukraine:
Russian forces continue to face force generation challenges and are committing unprepared contract servicemen to the invasion of Ukraine. The BBC’s Russian service reported on June 20 that new Russian recruits receive only 3 to 7 days of training before being sent to “the most active sectors of the front.” The BBC also reported that volunteers within the conventional Russian military, Rosgvardia units, and Wagner Group mercenaries have become Russia’s main assault force, as opposed to full conventional military units. ISW has previously assessed that Russian units in eastern Ukraine are suffering from poor complements of infantry, slowing their ability to seize urban terrain.Understanding War
By pursuing an unreliable “green energy policy” Germany and other nations of Europe made the continent vulnerable to Russia, which supplies much of Europe’s oil and natural gas. This vulnerability made Putin confident in his bloody invasion and occupation of a peaceful sovereign European neighbor.
The video above makes it clear that Germany is only obtaining “pennies on the dollar” in terms of actual usable energy from its overpriced and unreliable wind & solar investments. Germany’s politicians of the past 30 years should be taken out and shot for this ruinous deception.
…Ukraine claimed a ‘significant’ victory against Putin‘s Black Sea forces after pounding the Russian garrison on the strategic Snake Island.
The southern operational command said it had ‘aimed strikes with the use of various forces’ on the island, causing major losses to Kremlin troops.
Satellite images show the damage wrought by Kyiv forces, with burning vegetation and a tower destroyed in the fight for the island.
The Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system, a radar station and vehicles were all damaged in the attacks on the island which has been a major battleground throughout the war.
It is just the latest blow for Putin who has suffered ‘extraordinary’ losses with pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk losing 55 per cent of its troops, British intelligence said today.Source
If Putin loses Konigsberg in the failed attempt to conquer all of Ukraine — as a first step of his grand plan to conquer the Baltics, Poland, and Romania — then his legacy will ultimately prove even more shameful than it had already become. Who knows where Putin would have stopped had he been successful in annexing Ukraine?
I have followed you for years and generally agreed with your insights but your take on the Ukraine war makes no sense to me so I am perplexed to say the least. Russia seems to me to be clearly winning and holds a winning hand vis-à-vis Europe: Russian gas and oil and food, etc. while Europe has Greens, wind power, solar, and open borders.
I will keep reading to see the denouement.
Interesting comment, thanks.
Probably the best source of day to day news on Putin’s war on Ukraine is the Institute for the Study of War at understandingwar.org
You make a good point that Europe has behaved very stupidly in the area of energy and electric power, and has put itself at the mercy of fossil fuel suppliers such as Russia. Russia has a lot of fossil fuels, fertilizers, other minerals, and good soil since the latest Ice Age along the southern fringe. Those are Russia’s strong points. Russia’s weak points are starting to catch up with her, however.
As for Russia’s war to eliminate Ukraine, Russia suffered terrible reversals in the North of Ukraine, and is in a stagnant phase in the South. In the East, Russia is enjoying slow but tangible success due to a massive advantage in firepower. Who would have thought it! Tiny Russia against Gigantic Ukraine? Everybody obviously expected Ukraine to mop the floor with Russia. Heh! Just kidding.
Obviously it is a huge surprise for Ukraine to still be fighting, slowing Russia’s progress, and inflicting enormous losses on Russia in men and materiel. That is the real story. Before the war, Putin was joking about the necessity for him to “rape beautiful Ukraine” to put her in her place. Now, those jokes do not make people laugh, as the coffins come back home in the thousands and the Russian economy faces double digit economic losses for the duration of the war and beyond.
Russia invaded Ukraine and proceeded to go to war on Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure. Inexplicably, without provocation. All of Russia’s neighbors are paying close attention to Putin’s erratic decisions and to Russia’s amazingly poor performance. Is Russia winning? What does the word “winning” even mean in the context of Russia’s embarrassment in failing to roll up Ukraine in the first days and weeks? It is an international scandal, and continues to be.
It has been up to Ukraine over the past few decades and up to Ukraine’s people. Clearly, Ukraine’s people have wanted to move away from Russia and toward Europe for centuries now, but particularly since the breakup of the USSR and most especially since 2014. It is Ukraine’s people who are dying and suffering the most. But clearly it is their choice.
Russia is collapsing demographically, in terms of healthy young ethnic Russians of working age and military age. For a Russian man, Putin is getting old. This was Putin’s last hurrah and he had hoped it would lead Russia on to a succession of victories culminating in the restoration of the empire. Astoundingly, Ukraine’s people chose to die to prevent their country from being the first domino to fall. Ukraine’s neighbors — going all the way to Sweden and Norway — are seeing Russia for what it really is and are preparing for serious warfare against the barbarians to the East.
A huge and rich country with a winning hand, but a dwindling manpower. No precision engineering or precision manufacturing. Everything has to be imported. All advanced weaponry is prototyping due to a steady loss of engineering expertise, and inability to put advanced technology into high quality production. The problems go deep and put a stopper on what Potemkin Russia can actually do. This war is bringing it all into focus and goes beyond the superficial “big strong Russia” mystique.
Is it true that Kaliningrad is not a historic part of Russia, that it was known as Konigsberg over the past few centuries as part of the Prussian and German Empires?
Russia took over the region in 1945 and has made a mess of it ever since, as expected. Expelling the German people and repopulating with Russians turned out to be a bad choice. The region has been in a steady and irrevocable decline.