A dispute over sanctions in Kaliningrad is a reminder of the security risks across Europe.
Kaliningrad is the latest spot in Europe caught up in spillover tensions from the Ukraine war.
That Kaliningrad flared up is not all that surprising considering, well, geography. Kaliningrad is a chunk of Russia wedged between Lithuania and Poland, who are both members of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is heavily militarized. Russia has deployed nuclear-capable missiles to the oblast, or administrative region, and it is the base for Russia’s Baltic Fleet, and its only year-round ice-free port. Minor close calls have happened before in the region, so when war broke out in Europe, Kaliningrad was always a point of potential volatility.
It is a reminder that Russia’s Ukraine invasion — and the West’s intense mobilization in response — always risked worsening tensions outside of Ukraine.