Putin issues chilling warning during surprise visit to heart of Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin defies the west by speaking in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (Picture: Getty)

Vladimir Putin issued a chilling warning to the West as he made a surprise visit to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad this week.

Kaliningrad, a small territory sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland in the heart of Europe, is widely considered to be a flashpoint should any conflict arise between Russia and Nato.

The visit comes as the UK government this week revealed it thinks there is a one-in-four chance that Russia will attack one of Britain’s allies in the next two years, potentially sparking a wider conflict between Moscow and the West.

Thursday’s visit saw Putin fly dangerously close to Nato’s airspace, where there is an active warrant for his arrest for complicity in war crimes and genocide in Ukraine.

During a speech at Kant University, Putin told neighbouring countries to prepare for ‘what will follow’ after many decided to tear down Soviet war memorials (Picture: Getty)

Upon arrival, he delivered a speech at Kant Baltic Federal University, in which the 71-year-old warned that countries bordering the Baltic Sea territory are not prepared for ‘what will follow’ after many decided to tear down Soviet war memorials.

‘This is stunning ignorance and lack of understanding of where they live, what they are doing and what will follow,’ Putin told the crowd.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the visit was not about ‘sending messages’ to the West, but reaffirmed Putin’s claim that ‘militaristic statements’ from Baltic countries posed a risk to the Kaliningrad region.

Gen Martin Herem, the commander of Estonia’s army, warned on Tuesday that Putin could invade the Baltic states within one year of the war in Ukraine ending.

Kaliningrad is thought to be a flashpoint in any future conflict between Russia and the West (Picture: Getty )

The region is currently conducting the largest war games operation since the end of the Cold War, with 90,000 troops from Germany, Poland and the Baltic states preparing for 

The alliance is currently conducting the largest war games the Baltic region has seen since the end of the Cold War, with 90,000 troops taking part in Operation Steadfast Defender 2024  until the end of May.

Last week Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – all of which were under Soviet occupation for decades after the Second World War – agreed to set up a wall of ‘anti-mobility defensive installations’ in a bid to maintain their security against Russia.

Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s foreign minister, said this week his country was ‘convinced that a real war [with Russia] is a likely possibility’.

Britain’s top general says the country needs to start ‘preparing for war’ (Picture: US ARMY / SWNS)

A leaked German military report from last week suggested Putin would seek to move troops and missiles into Kaliningrad in order to further inflame tensions with the West.

A 60-mile corridor which connects Belarus to Kaliningrad along the Polish-Lithuanian border has been dubbed Nato’s ‘weakest link,’ and could provide a land link from the enclave to Moscow via Belarus if it falls under Russia’s control.

Downing Street was forced to rule out conscription this week after the head of the British army General Sir Patrick Sanders warned that civilians may be required to fight Russia in the near-future.

Gen Sanders stressed the need for ministers to ‘mobilise the nation’ amid the looming threat of World War 3 after accusing the existing military of being ‘too small’ to fight a large-scale conflict.

He said: ‘Our friends in Eastern and Northern Europe, who feel the proximity of the Russian threat more acutely, are already acting prudently, laying the foundations for national mobilisation.

‘We will not be immune and as the pre-war generation we must similarly prepare – and that is a whole-of-nation undertaking. 

‘Ukraine brutally illustrates that regular armies start wars; citizen armies win them.’

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