Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 89

The main goal of the exercises held by Russia’s border troops in the Kaliningrad oblast is to prevent a possible emergency situation on the Russian Federation’s far Western border, the troops’ deputy commander-in-chief, Lt. General Sergei Shcherbakov, told Russia’s Radio September 6. Shcherbakov said that over 10,000 of his troops, together with the Federal Security Service, the army, and the customs service are training in Kaliningrad because this region is a Russian border outpost, and because of what he termed the quantum leap in criminality in the region which, he believes, is at least as grave as the military threat. Shcherbakov observed that large-scale smuggling of strategic metals and drug trafficking throughout the area has doubled over the last two years, and that tighter control of the Kaliningrad border may benefit Poland and Lithuania as well as Russia.

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