The Russian leader meets with local leaders and students
The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, made a surprise visit to the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, located between Poland and Lithuania, on Thursday, just as NATO began its largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War. However, the Kremlin has denied that there is any connection between the two events.
According to Russian authorities, Putin’s goal is to meet with local leaders and attend a meeting with students. “When the president visits regions of Russia, he is not trying to send any message to NATO countries,” chief spokesman Dimitri Peskov told the media.
“He has been doing it for years, working to improve the country and its regions,” he added, according to the TASS news agency. The Atlantic Alliance plans to deploy around 90,000 troops in exercises that will simulate a conflict in Europe.
Special security measures for Putin’s trip
Peskov has also avoided confirming that exceptional security measures have been taken for Putin’s trip, recalling that any trip by the president already entails “special” checks. Thus, he has rejected the fact that Russia has requested a specific air corridor from Lithuania for this trip, which by land involves crossing EU territory.
After the start of the Russian military attack on Ukraine, the countries of the European bloc closed their airspace to official Russian aircraft, and their high officials often circle the area to fly over international waters in the Baltic Sea.
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