On a visit yesterday to East Prussia’s former capital, renamed Kaliningrad, Russian deputy prime minister Sergei Shakhrai said that the region "plays a very special role in the European balance of forces." Russia’s Baltic Fleet, 11th Army, and border troops deployed there "could play a decisive role in containing the eastward expansion of NATO’s influence," Shakhrai said in a local TV interview. (3)
The region, bordering on Poland and Lithuania, has seen a substantial augmentation of Russian military forces after the withdrawal of Russian armies from Central Europe and the Baltic states. Some Russian troops formerly stationed in the Baltic states have withdrawn westward into the area around Koenigsberg, rather than eastward to Russia. Earlier this month Russian forces there participated in a combined-arms land and naval exercise.
Negotiations on Track but Unproductive.