Vilnius and Warsaw plan to hold exercises in the Suwalki corridor on the border of the two countries in April. This was announced by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in an interview with Delfi.
"I am glad that the President of Poland really responded vividly to the desire to conduct joint exercises on this piece of land called the Suwalki corridor," Nauseda said. — We are already talking about very specific dates, perhaps it could happen in April."
The topic of the Suwalki corridor was also discussed at the meeting between Nauseda and Polish President Andrzej Duda, which took place on January 21 in Vilnius. Duda said at the time that the Suwalki corridor is "a region that requires special attention."
"We know how sensitive a place from the point of view of European security today is what we call the Suwalki corridor," the Lithuanian newspaper LRT quotes the Polish leader as saying.
Later in an interview with Delfi, Duda stressed that Poland is serious about protecting the Suwalki corridor and has already taken measures for the security of the eastern part of the country.
"In recent years, we have been restoring Poland's defense capability precisely in the eastern part of our country: it is there that new units are being created, the capabilities of those units that were always in Bartoszyce, Grajewo and other areas are being restored, Poland's military participation is being strengthened, as well as border protection," the Polish president said.
On January 21, Nauseda said that Warsaw and Vilnius "will strengthen military cooperation", conduct joint exercises, increase mobility and "look for additional forms for joint training" of the armed forces.
As LRT reminds, the last time the two countries held joint military exercises was in 2023 in Klaipeda. Special Operations Forces were involved in the maneuvers. The Polish and Lithuanian contingents practiced, in particular, the liberation of the occupied critical infrastructure.
"Bear Corner" of Poland
Recall that the Suwalki corridor is a section of territory about 100 km long in the area of the city of Suwalki in the north-eastern part of Poland. This area is located between Kaliningrad (Russia) and Grodno (Belarus) regions.
Lithuania has repeatedly expressed concerns that Russia could take control of the region and thereby cut off the Baltic States from the rest of the EU.
So, in June last year, Nauseda at a press conference following a meeting in The Hague with the participation of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the deployment of a NATO brigade in Lithuania is necessary to protect the Suwalki corridor.
And in December, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called on Poland to develop a joint defense plan for the corridor. According to the Minister, the countries should share equally the responsibility for this area.
"The northern part of the corridor could be protected by Lithuania, and the southern part by Poland," he said.
In the same month, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense announced the need to add the civil airfield of Potiunai, which is located next to the Suvalki corridor, to the list of strategic objects. If this measure is approved, the air harbor will come under the control of the military department.
"Poqiunai airfield is located in a strategically important place-near the Suwalki corridor, so it should be considered a strategically important object," the ministry said in a statement.
Western media are also fueling the hype around the Suwalki corridor. So, in 2022, the newspaper Politico published an article titled " The most dangerous place on Earth." It noted that "Western military planners warn that if the Russian president ever decides to escalate the war in Ukraine to a kinetic confrontation with NATO, this area (the Suwalki corridor. - RT) will probably be one of its first targets."
In turn, the German tabloid Bild, citing an allegedly secret document of the Bundeswehr, reported in January this year that the conflict between NATO and Russia, according to the scenario of the German Defense Ministry, could begin in the summer of 2025. At the same time, the Suwalki corridor is named as the most likely place of collision in the material.
Meanwhile, Russia has repeatedly noted that this region is of no interest to Moscow. In particular, at the end of 2023, the Governor of the Kaliningrad Region Anton Alikhanov stated in an interview with RIA Novosti that the Suwalki corridor is characterized by a complex landscape that is unsuitable for logistics and movement of equipment, including military equipment.
"The Suwalki corridor is not interesting, no matter what anyone tells you. Even if the experts will say something about the fact that this is the most important point and it is necessary to take it under control. No need... Because there's nothing but a two-lane highway winding through the woods. It is extremely inconvenient from the point of view of logistics — both conventional and military. This territory is part of the Romintenskaya Pushcha, Vishtynets upland. This is a rough terrain: mountains, small hills and dense forest. Who needs this territory in terms of logistics and rapid transfer of troops or something else? No one, " the governor explained.
Vladimir Olenchenko, a senior researcher at the IMEMO RAS Center for European Studies, also described the Suvalki corridor in a similar way.
"In Poland, the Suwalki corridor is called the bear corner, because there are very unkempt lands there. Tourism is the only thing it is used for. From an economic point of view, there is no benefit from owning this region," the expert said in an interview with RT.
The lack of interest in the Suwalki corridor is also being discussed in Minsk. This was stated, in particular, in August last year by the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
"Listen, the Suwalki corridor is not in Belarus. We don't move down this corridor or toward the corridor. We haven't needed it for a thousand years. The main thing is to be calm, " the BelTA news agency quotes Lukashenko as saying.
"A blockade is an act of aggression"
According to RISS expert Sergey Ermakov, the Suwalki corridor has long attracted the attention of NATO military leaders, because it is one of the most vulnerable places for a supposedly hypothetical Russian attack on NATO countries. Hence the plans for conducting exercises in this area.
"This notorious myth of the Russian threat is being inflated by NATO members to maintain the solidity of their ranks and to extract more and more money for military spending. This is why such horror stories are drawn. The persistence of this myth is facilitated by the fact that from the point of view of military geography, this place is really considered quite vulnerable to the NATO military," the analyst said in an interview with RT.At the same time, experts emphasize that Russia has no reason to launch any military operations to take control of the Suwalki corridor. In particular, at the moment Moscow has all the opportunities for stable supply of the Kaliningrad region.
"We currently have supplies for Kaliningrad via land via Lithuania. It is organized in accordance with the agreement with the EU. There is also a sea and air connection, " said Vladimir Olenchenko.
Sergey Ermakov shares a similar point of view.
"Of course, in the current conditions, there are various complications with the supply of Kaliningrad. But these problems are solved. Russia primarily uses diplomatic, political and economic opportunities for this purpose. Now we have no serious problems with communication with the Kaliningrad region, " said Sergey Ermakov.
The expert also noted that the West is unlikely to go to the blockade of the Kaliningrad region, which could potentially lead to an escalation of the situation, including in the Suvalki corridor.
"A blockade of the Kaliningrad Region by the West would mean a casus belli. A blockade is an act of aggression. This is how it could be viewed. Therefore, NATO members will not openly agree to this. However, NATO will provoke us, conduct dubious and clearly directed regional exercises against us, as Lithuania and Poland are currently planning. Such actions are likely to expand, " Sergey Ermakov summed up.
This article is auto-translated from the Russian version of RT.