After claiming that Russia violated its airspace for the first time with an MI-8 border guard helicopter, Estonia reported that Russian military forces are 'simulating missile strikes against the country daily'. Indeed, tensions quickly escalated with the Baltic states after Lithuania restricted the transit of EU-sanctioned goods through the country to Kaliningrad, which accounts for about 50 per cent of its exports.
Following the 1945 Potsdam Conference, the Soviet Union was granted Kaliningrad as an exclave, a de facto military base on the Baltic Sea and surrounded by Poland and Lithuania. The region is strategically located between EU and NATO countries, and neighbouring countries are concerned about the Suwałki Gap, the 80-kilometre border separating it from Belarus, another de facto Russian extension.
The Kremlin reacted strongly to the Lithuanian restriction and regarded the ban, backed by the EU, as "openly hostile" and demanded its immediate revocation. At the same time, Lithuania has asked NATO to intensify its strategy in the Baltic states in a more "visible" and effective way as they risk finding themselves encircled by Russia, Belarus, and Kaliningrad, and plans this to be discussed at the NATO gathering in Madrid this week.