As the solidarity of NATO is tested due to rising tensions between some of its member states and the Trump administration, and just days before a highly anticipated, and in some cases highly maligned, meeting between Trump and Putin in Finland, Russia has executed a mock raid on a strategic island it controls in the Baltic Sea.
Gogland Island sits smack-dab in the center of Gulf of Finland, which is bordered by Russia to the east, Finland to the north, and Estonia to the south. The eight square mile island is considered a ‘border area’ by Moscow and foreigners can only travel there with special permits. It has long been a military stronghold and is dotted with abandoned military infrastructure from the Cold War. The island is known for its rugged and varied terrain, but these days, besides a communications tower, some lighthouses, a shipwreck, and a small fishing village, there isn’t much there. Its standing population is measured in the dozens of people at any given time, although all this could change during a conflict.