Putin's visit to NATO-bordering Kaliningrad: Kremlin insists it's not a message
Russian reports suggest that Putin plans to meet students and local authorities during his visit to Kaliningrad. The regional news portal Klops.ru disclosed that the students invited belong to Immanuel Kant University. Putin is also scheduled to engage in discussions with Anton Alikhanov, the head of the Kaliningrad regional administration, after this planned meeting.
Proximity to NATO border
Notably, the Kaliningrad region, where Putin's visit is taking place, shares its borders with two NATO member countries, Poland and Lithuania, as pointed out by Reuters agency. It's essential to underline that Putin's previous visit to Kaliningrad took place in September 2022, a time when the Russian invasion of Ukraine had been in progress for several months.
The emphasis by the Kremlin spokesperson that Putin's visit is not aimed at sending any msg to NATO, can be seen as an attempt to ease rising tensions. Owing to Kaliningrad's geographical location, Putin's visit could potentially spark concerns among NATO member states.
Just a few days ago, Moscow criticized NATO's Steadfast Defender 2024 military drills, involving about 90,000 soldiers. Russia labeled it a "series of provocations". According to Russia, the drills' objective is to escalate tensions and provoke Baltic states. It's a "show of force at the gates" of Russia.