Why have we not heard anyone mention the West taking back Kaliningrad (formerly Konigsberg, Germany) from Russia as a quid pro quo for Russia taking the Crimea?
By claiming that Kaliningrad's roots are German, Polish and Lithuanian (and definitely not Russian) in the same manner that Putin claimed the Crimea belonged culturally to Russia and not the Ukraine, Putin's argument could be mirrored and used to annex Kaliningrad to Poland or Lithuania.
Kaliningrad is completely surrounded by Poland and Lithuania, both European Union and NATO alliance members. Why not block Kaliningrad from the Baltic Sea and station troops around its entire border? This would cut off Kaliningradfrom Russia giving NATO a strong card to play in demanding that the Crimea be returned to the Ukraine and to halt all Russian efforts to invade the east of the country.
In addition, Russia should be penalized at least $2 billion as reparation costs for starting this conflict and trying to steal the Crimea from the Ukraine. Next, the Ukraine's natural gas debt should be marked ‘paid in full’ and Russia's gas billing rate returned to 2013 norms.
In addition, the return of Kaliningrad to the West would also allow for the unfettered use of the Via Baltica from Berlin to Tallinn, Estonia.
This is an opinion piece, from the CNN blogsite
Photo: Dima Bushkov