When discussing the precipitous security situation in Eastern Europe at present, it is easy to forget that a potential Russian invasion could be a two-front war. On one front, an attack could come along NATO’s easternmost border, especially Poland’s border with Belarus, or at one of the Baltic States; on the other, NATO could experience an equally devastating offensive from virtually inside its own house, from the heavily armed oblast of Kaliningrad. A Russian enclave located just above Poland and just under Lithuania, the threat from Kaliningrad is more easily overlooked than Russia proper. The former capital of the Prussian Empire, it is also culturally distinct from the rest of Russia; it is common for inhabitants to commute to Poland or Lithuania to buy otherwise unavailable European products. But that is a rather benign façade for the true role of the oblast. Of late, Kaliningrad increasingly resembles an island of nuclear weapons. I have written more on this subject here.
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