Kirkilas: Russian should demilitarize Kaliningrad

  • 2005-09-23
VILNIUS 's Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said that heavily armed and fortified region of Kaliningrad Oblast should be demilitarized.

Speaking days after a Russian jet fighter flying to Kaliningrad crashed on Lithuanian territory, Kirkilas said, "Even Russians say that [the accident] might have happened due to a very narrow corridor for flying to Kaliningrad, so I wonder what that narrow corridor is for."

In his words, the Kaliningrad exclave is surrounded by friendly government 's Lithuanian and Poland 's and there is no reason for a heavy military presence there.

"Demilitarization of Kaliningrad is first of all in the interests of Kaliningrad residents. Kaliningrad residents today lose millions of euros just because there is such a situation there," he said, adding that the region, by far the poorest in northern Europe, could be a prosperous one.