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Ambassador Warns: Russian Territory Faces Neutralization in Response to Moscow’s NATO Actions

Russian Region Will Be ‘Neutralized’ if Moscow Moves on NATO: Ambassador

The Lithuanian ambassador to Sweden issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that Russia’s Kaliningrad region would face repercussions if Moscow were to challenge NATO’s presence in the Baltic Sea.

Linas Linkevicius, formerly Lithuania’s foreign minister and defense minister and now serving as ambassador, conveyed this stance in a post on X, previously known as Twitter, regarding Sweden’s recent accession to NATO.

Sweden’s path to joining NATO was finalized on Monday when Hungary’s parliament approved the country’s membership in the military alliance. With Hungary’s assent, Sweden secured the unanimous support required from all NATO members for its accession.

Linkevicius noted that with Sweden’s integration into NATO, the Baltic Sea effectively became an “internal NATO sea.” He cautioned that if Russia were to provoke NATO, Kaliningrad would face consequences, referring to it being “neutralized” first. Linkevicius also highlighted the irony of Russia’s past claims of NATO encirclement now becoming a tangible reality.

The Russian fleet maintains a stronghold in Kaliningrad, an extensively militarized Russian exclave situated as the westernmost region of the Russian Federation. Kaliningrad is separated from Sweden by the Baltic Sea, with the Scottish island of Gotland lying approximately 186 miles from its shores.

As Linkevicius pointed out, Russian President Vladimir Putin has vehemently opposed NATO expansion, citing it as a rationale for his invasion of Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine prompted both Finland and Sweden to submit applications to join NATO simultaneously in May 2022. Finland became a NATO member in April 2023.

Lithuania, a NATO member since 2004, has been a steadfast supporter of Kyiv throughout Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Last month, the Baltic state pledged an aid package exceeding $216 million for Ukraine.

The ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership by Hungary garnered praise from various Lithuanian officials. Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė commended the expansion of NATO, stating it would enhance security not only for Sweden and the Baltic-Nordic region but also for the broader NATO alliance and beyond.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda hailed Monday as a “historic day,” emphasizing the strengthened unity and commitment among NATO allies to safeguard the security and defense of their nations. He extended a warm welcome to Sweden, now a member of the NATO family.

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