Russia has conducted an anti-ship missile exercise in the Baltic Sea amid escalating tensions with NATO member Lithuania after the latter country blocked the transit of goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
The footage reportedly shows a Russian warship in the Baltic Sea performing a military exercise. The vessel can be seen launching an anti-ship missile at what appears to be a mock target with a camera mounted on board. The footage showed the missile hitting the target with pinpoint accuracy.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement on Monday, June 20: “The crew of the Soobrazitelny corvette, as part of an exercise of the Baltic Fleet, launched a missile attack on a sea target imitating a warship of a mock enemy.
“Rocket firing was carried out using the main strike weapon of the corvette – the Uran anti-ship missile system. In addition, the crew of the corvette worked out an air defense exercise at sea using the A-190 artillery system.
“After completing the fire mission, the crew of the ship conducted a series of shipboard exercises – on electronic warfare, damage control, anti-sabotage defense, organizing interaction and communications between ships providing missile firing.”
Lithuania announced on Friday, June 17 the suspension of the transit of goods that have fallen under EU sanctions through its territory to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave that borders Poland and Lithuania that was captured from Nazi Germany in 1945, towards the end of World War II. Goods had until now primarily arrived there from Russia via rail, transiting through Lithuania.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to the announcement of the suspension of the transit of goods by summoning the Lithuanian Chargé d’af·faires, Virginia Umbrasene, demanding that the restrictions be lifted.
Russia has said that it “reserves the right to act to protect its national interests,” while the Governor of the Kaliningrad Oblast region, Anton Alikhanov, has announced plans for cargo vessels to begin ferrying goods between St. Petersburg and the exclave. The last time such an endeavor was undertaken might well have been during the Berlin Airlift, when the Western Allies organised an air bridge between West Germany and West Berlin after it was cut off by the Soviet Union.
The head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Andriy Yermak said on the evening of Monday, June 20: “The Kremlin’s attempts to threaten Lithuania are a challenge for the EU and NATO.
“Now it is important to maintain a stable position and make no concessions to Russia on sanctions and restrictions on transit of goods from Russia to Kaliningrad. Any concession will be perceived by Russia as a weakness.”
And the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said at a press conference in Brussels that Lithuania is merely applying the EU’s sanctions and is not taking any unilateral measures.
We contacted Russian and Ukrainian officials for comment but had not received a reply at the time of writing.
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