How Kaliningrad, Russian land ringed by NATO, is tangled in Ukraine war

Kaliningrad, Russian territory that is isolated from the rest of the country, historically shared close economic ties with its European neighbors. (Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, hundreds of miles west of the rest of the country, is the latest flash point between Moscow and the rest of Europe as the fallout from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war reverberates beyond Ukraine.

Sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland — both of which are European Union and NATO members — Kaliningrad sits on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. It receives much of its supplies via routes through Lithuania and Belarus.

Russia threatens Lithuania for enforcing E.U. sanctions on Kaliningrad

Lithuania said in mid-June that it would bar the transit through its territory of Kaliningrad-bound goods sanctioned by the E.U., including coal, metals and construction materials. The Kremlin called the move “unprecedented and illegal” and summoned the European Union’s top diplomat in Moscow to complain. Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, said the response would have a “serious” impact on the Lithuanian people.

Here’s what to know about this Russian exclave and how it is tangled up in the war in Ukraine.