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Ex-NATO commander calls for Russian region to be ‘neutralized’

James Stavridis has called Kaliningrad a “geographic wedge” between the bloc’s members

By RT International

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis has suggested that the US-led military bloc’s members should “neutralize” Russia’s westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad if Moscow seriously endangers the security of the Baltic states.

Kaliningrad (formerly Konigsberg) belonged to Germany until the end of World War II, when it was handed over to the USSR under the Potsdam Agreement. It remained part of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and, after several consecutive waves of NATO expansion, found itself completely surrounded by the bloc’s members.

In an op-ed for Bloomberg, published on Thursday as Russia was celebrating the 79th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, Stavridis outlined his views on Kaliningrad as the last remaining nuisance that prevents the Baltic Sea from turning into a “NATO lake.”

“A glance at a map shows that is largely (but not completely) true – the coastline has a couple of slivers of Russian territory. The rest of the coastal littoral is in NATO hands: Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark,” the retired US Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO wrote.

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