As the Russia-Ukraine conflict rages on, the spotlight is on Kaliningrad, Russia’s westernmost region.
- Russia has warned Lithuania of serious consequences after it banned the rail transfer of some goods to the Russian territory of Kaliningrad.
- Last week, the Lithuanian authorities announced they would ban goods subject to EU sanctions from passing through their territory to Russia.
- As Russia’s westernmost federal entity, the Kaliningrad Oblast occupies 15,000 sq km and houses under 1 million people.
- Russia is divided into 85 such oblasts, or states.
- It is situated almost 300-km away from mainland Russia, and shares no borders with it.
- Home to the deployment of Moscow’s Iskander missiles and the Russian Baltic Fleet, Kaliningrad has been called the Kremlin’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier”.
- The end of the Second World War marked an important milestone in Kaliningrad’s history.
- The Potsdam Agreement was signed by America, Britain and the former Soviet Union in 1945 in which Kaliningrad, then known as Königsberg, was ceded to Russia.
- This was done as the Soviet Union, under Stalin, had already taken control of the East Prussian territory due to its strategic geographic location.