Deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma and leader of the LDPR party Vladimir Zhirinovsky sharply criticized the EU intention to impose a visa regime for the inhabitants of Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave in the Baltic, when traveling to Russia and back, in the context of the EU expansion to the east.
At a press conference in the Palace of Europe on Wednesday Zhirinovsky called this intention "a monstrous encroachment on human rights, a shame and humiliation for Russia".
"It [the visa regime] will deprive the citizens of their right to freely move across the country," the deputy speaker said.
He recalled that since the USSR break-up the laws on state borders between Russia and Lithuania had not been ratified. Zhirinovsky suggested that Vilnius assign a part of its territory, about 90 km long and 300 km wide, for building modern railway and motorway to connect Russia and the Kaliningrad region. In exchange Russia could cede Lithuania a similar territory at the Russian-Lithuania eastern border, he believes.
This would be the best solution of the Kaliningrad problem, and then the State Duma could ratify the agreements on defining the state borders between Russia and Lithuania, he said.
If Lithuania, being under the EU pressure does not agree to the proposal, Russia could use economic tools of influence against Lithuania and Poland, Zhirinovsky added.
He called on the Council of Europe not to follow the EU blindly and not to apply double standards to the Kaliningrad region.
Europe which is panic-stricken over the consequences of rising energy and food prices could strike a treacherous blow to Ukraine this winter, writes Simon Tisdall for The Guardian.