US Warns Russia: Attacking Lithuania is the Same as Attacking the United States

US Warns Russia: Attacking Lithuania is the Same as Attacking the United States
US Warns Russia: Attacking Lithuania is the Same as Attacking the United States

- United States reacts to Russian threats against Lithuania. Through the State Department, the US said Russia's new threat to target "Lithuanian residents" was reminiscent of America's pledge to fight alongside a NATO ally that might come under attack.

Lithuania is a member of the NATO alliance, State Department spokesman Ned Price stressed. “We support the commitments we have made to the NATO alliance. That includes, of course, the commitment to Article 5: That is the cornerstone of the NATO alliance," he stressed as quoted by the Washington Examiner, Wednesday (22/6/2022).

Price prefaced the warning with a disparaging comment about the "Russian bluff." That seems to reflect how unease about the escalating military tensions surrounding the war in Ukraine has been conditioned by the recognition that Russia is far more likely to use such threats for propaganda purposes than to risk direct clashes with the trans-Atlantic alliance.

"It looks like it was partly a Russian influence operation or a bit of psyops," a senior European official told the Washington Examiner. The latest controversy centers on Kaliningrad, a former Prussian territory on the Baltic Sea that Moscow acquired after the Second World War.

This heavily militarized district has long presented a Russian thorn on NATO's side. However, the bastion remains partly dependent on rail supplies crossing neighboring Lithuania which last week announced that some of those shipments would have to be restricted, in accordance with sanctions imposed by the European Union.

"Russia will of course respond to this kind of hostile act," said head of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday. “The necessary measures will be introduced soon. They will have serious negative consequences for the Lithuanian population."

The Russian complaint belies the fact that Lithuania's actions had been implicitly scheduled by EU sanctions imposed in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

The transit ban, when sanctions are fully implemented, will prevent rail shipments of about half of commercial shipments to Kaliningrad of mostly commodities such as cement and iron ore products.

"In accordance with EU sanctions, there are import and export restrictions that apply in relation to certain goods," the EU's top representative Josep Borrell, a former Spanish politician who headed the bloc's diplomatic corps, said on Monday. "Allegations against Lithuania that they are imposing Lithuanian sanctions are false, pure propaganda," he added.

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