Staunton, May 7 – Two days ago, the Russian government unilaterally suspended its 2001 confidence building agreement with Lithuania and declared that Moscow no longer felt any requirement to inform Vilnius about its military deployments in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
According to the Lithuanian defense ministry, Russian émigré historian Yury Felshtinsky reports, the two countries under the terms of the agreement had been exchanging information about their military dislocations and allowed for inspections. Lithuania has fulfilled “all of the conditions” of the agreement.
“This step by Russia,” the Lithuanian defense ministry continued, “demonstrates [Moscow’s] unwillingness to support mutual trust and can be considered as yet another step toward the destruction of mutual trust and the security system in Europe.”
This development has been overshadowed by events in Ukraine, Felshtinsky says, but it seems clear that Moscow is taking the steps necessary to create “two places des armes for future offensive operations by the Russian Army: in the South (in Crimea) and in the West (in Kaliningrad).”
While it is always risky to equate capabilities with intentions, Moscow by its Anschluss of Crimea and its denunciation of the 2001 accord with Lithuania is clearly creating capabilities for the actions Felshtinsky projects. At the very least, Russia’s behavior in this case destroys the last basis for West’s continuing to observe CFR limitations because clearly Moscow no longer is.