Following a warning from Washington that any attack on Lithuania “would be an attack on ALL NATO countries,” Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov cautioned against using extreme language.
After Moscow threatened “serious repercussions” for its blockade of Kaliningrad, the US warned Moscow that its support for Lithuania is “ironclad” and any attack “would be an attack on ALL NATO members.”
If Russia opted to attack Lithuania, the US State Department declared that Washington would stand up for the NATO member.
‘We stand by our NATO allies and we stand by Lithuania,’ US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Wednesday.
‘Specifically our commitment to NATO’s Article Five – the premise that an attack on one would constitute an attack on all – that commitment on the part of the United States is ironclad,’ he said.
Following Lithuania’s blockade of coal, metals, building supplies, and cutting-edge technology from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad, Russia has threatened to respond against Lithuania with actions that “will have a major detrimental impact on the Lithuanian population.”
Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister of Russia, retaliated by warning the West against bringing up NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense clause in the event of a dispute between Lithuania and Russia.
‘I would like to warn Europeans against dangerous rhetorical games on the topic of conflict,’ the Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying on Wednesday, according to Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin declared today that the EU sanctions were “completely unacceptable” and that Moscow was preparing retaliatory actions after Lithuania blocked the transit of some commodities to Kaliningrad.
As required by the EU sanctions that went into effect on Saturday in reaction to Russia’s decision to commit its armed forces into Ukraine, Lithuania has closed the route to steel and other ferrous metals, according to Lithuania.
Through Lithuania, a member of the EU and NATO, Kaliningrad is connected to the rest of Russia by rail.
‘We are convinced that the illegal sanctions adopted by the European Union are absolutely unacceptable in this situation,’ Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters, adding that countermeasures were being prepared.
Russian countermeasures, according to Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, will include both diplomatic and practical measures. She also didn’t go into detail.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Tuesday: ‘Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions. Relevant measures are being worked out in the interdepartmental format and will be taken in the near future.’
‘Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania,’ Patrushev, a former KGB spy, added.
Asked about Russia’s statements, Price said, ‘We aren’t going to speculate on Russian saber-rattling or Russian bluster and don’t even want to give it additional airtime.’
Price added that the US-supported Lithuania’s and other countries’ “extraordinary economic measures” against Russia in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
Evgeny Buzhinsky, a retired Russian general, encouraged Putin to deliver nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad at the same time.
Moscow will never trust the West again, the President’s spokesman warned in response to the action.
After deliveries of coal, metals, building supplies, and cutting-edge technology were barred from entering Russian territory via NATO member Lithuania, Lt. Gen. Evgeny Buzhinsky said on Russian official television that the West is playing with fire.
As a Russian outpost on the Baltic Sea that is encircled by EU territory, Buzhinsky said Lithuania’s decision to prohibit the supply of items subject to sanctions to Kaliningrad constituted a “threat” to Russian national security.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, cautioned that all mutual confidence between the West and Moscow has since vanished.
The threats follow a warning from the Kremlin that Lithuania would face “extremely serious steps” if it did not change its “openly unfriendly move.”
In the midst of the conflict with NATO member Lithuania, Patrushev, one of Putin’s closest allies, arrived in Kaliningrad on Tuesday to talk about national security.
The trip, which included a discussion about transportation, was planned before Vilnius forbade the transit of goods sanctioned by the European Union through Lithuanian territory to and from the exclave, citing EU sanction rules, according to RIA Novosti, which was further cited in the Daily Mail report.
In response to “anti-Russian limitations” on the transit of commodities subject to sanctions to Kaliningrad, the Russian foreign ministry summoned Markus Ederer, the EU ambassador to Moscow, on Tuesday.
In a written statement released on Tuesday, the Lithuanian government emphasized that “the transit of passengers and non-sanctioned goods to and from the Kaliningrad region through Lithuania continues uninterrupted” and that the prohibition on the transit of sanctioned goods was merely a component of the fourth set of EU sanctions against Russia.
High-ranking Lithuanian officials denounced Russia’s response to the move as an effort on the part of the Kremlin to wrap up a propaganda operation seeking to create an image of a “blockade” primarily for internal consumption.
Buzhinsky added that “Russia won’t stop” defending its borders because “they’ll deny us Kaliningrad” if they don’t.
He also declared that if the latest stalemate in Lithuania results in a nuclear Third World War, Britain will “literally cease to exist.”
The Lithuanian chargé d’affaires in Moscow were informed that Russia reserves the right to take action to defend its national interests if freight transportation to Kaliningrad is not resumed in the near future.
Senator Andrey Klimov, a loyalist, cautioned that it was a “direct attack against Russia, compelling us to really respond to proper self-defense immediately.”
Any direct Russian strike on the NATO member state of Lithuania would be viewed as a war crime against the alliance and might lead to global conflict.
Speaking on the state-run Russian television station Russia 1, Buzhinsky referred to the situation as “very serious” and asserted that the West has hidden agendas.
The West intended to ‘block Kaliningrad economically, completely, until our people howl from destitution’, Buzinsky added.