Caroline Baudry 11:28 a.m., June 30, 2022

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the smallest town in Lithuania, Panemune, has seen its inhabitants torn between support for Russia and support for Europe.

Indeed, the city is located only a few hundred meters from the ultra-militarized enclave of Kaliningrad.

Only a (small) bridge separates the city from Russia.

REPORTAGE

Gathered for a crucial summit in Madrid, the NATO countries will strengthen their military presence at the gates of Russia and validate the enlargement of the Alliance to Sweden and Finland.

This movement is considered "aggressive" and "deeply destabilizing" by Moscow.

"We are there" and "we are proving that NATO is more necessary than ever", insisted American President Joe Biden who announced for his part a reinforcement of the American military presence throughout Europe and in particular in the Baltic States, neighboring Russia.

"If there is an attack, I will not leave"

In Lithuania, there is Panemune, located a few hundred meters from the ultra-militarized Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

Since the start of the war, the situation has become tense in the smallest town in Lithuania (200 inhabitants).

"I woke up one morning a month ago and saw this letter," said a resident.

On a building, a huge red and black Z is painted, symbol of the invasion of Ukraine, with a Russian flag at its side.

© Caroline Baudry / Europe 1

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Virginijus, standing in his garden, observes Putin's land, less than 500m away, just on the other side of the river.

“I wondered if they wanted to scare us. I wanted to paint a pair of buttocks on the wall of my house. What else do you want to say to these idiots? lives opposite.

We don't agree.

She supports Putin, and not me.

If there is an attack, I will not leave.

I will hide in my cellar".

A metal bridge separates Europe from Russia

A metal bridge connects the two banks.

Vehicles have been banned from driving there for several months.

The gate that issued visas is now closed, says Monika.

She serves beetroot soups in the only cafe in the almost deserted village.

"Before, I sometimes went to Kalinigrad. If I was allowed to go back, I wouldn't go. It's scary. At the beginning of the war, people who live here were scared. Now it's like s "They were used to it. It will happen what will happen", she testifies at the microphone of Europe 1.

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Some inhabitants of the Russian enclave cross the border post on foot, to buy telephones or computers in Europe.

She says that once in her cafe, they are very discreet, fearing for their own safety.

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