You are currently viewing Lithuania has limited rail transit to the Kaliningrad region.  Russian authorities declared a blockade of the region and threatened to respond to “openly hostile” actions

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Port of Kaliningrad

On June 18, Lithuania introduced a ban on rail transit through its territory to the Kaliningrad region of goods that fell under European sanctions. The ban affected coal, metals, cement, wood, building materials and high-tech products. In August, restrictions on the supply of petroleum products may be introduced. According to the governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov, 40-50% of all cargo was banned.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis declaredthat the restrictions were introduced after consultation with the European Commission and under its leadership. “Currently, we are awaiting clarification from the European Commission regarding the application of the European sanctions regime to Kaliningrad commercial transit,” — reported Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adomenas.

Alikhanov called Lithuania’s actions illegal and said that he would seek clarification from the European Commission regarding the restrictions imposed. “We believe that this is a gross violation of the protocols for the accession of the Baltic countries to the EU, this is a violation of the rules of free transit to / from the Kaliningrad region. It was an obligation of the EU and the Baltic States. This is also a humanitarian issue, an attempt to stifle our region economically,” the governor said.

In connection with the restriction of transit, on June 20, Chargé d’Affaires of Lithuania Virginija Umbrasene was summoned to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was given a “strong protest”. Actions of Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation regarded as “provocative” and “openly hostile”.

If in the near future the cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the territory of the Russian Federation through Lithuania is not restored in full, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests.

Grigory Karasin, head of the Federation Council committee on international affairs, said that Virginia Umbrasene had been warned about possible retaliatory measures from Russia. “We reserve the opportunity to take rather decisive measures in order to prevent our region from being blockaded <…> The conversation was, as I understand it, tough,” Karasin said. What kind of retaliatory measures Russia can take, he did not specify.

Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov named Lithuania’s decision is unprecedented. When asked if it was a blockade of the Kaliningrad region, he replied: “This is an element of the blockade, of course.” “The situation is more than serious in this regard, and it requires a very deep analysis before formulating any measures and any decisions,” Peskov added.

Senator Andrei Klishas wrote in his telegram channel that “Lithuania’s attempt to establish a de facto blockade of the Kaliningrad region is a violation of Russia’s sovereignty over this region and may be the basis for very tough and absolutely legal actions on the part of Russia.”

Head of the Federation Council Commission for the Protection of Sovereignty Andrey Klimov declared: “If the European Union does not immediately correct the impudent trick of Vilnius, it will itself disavow for us the legitimacy of all documents on Lithuania’s membership in the EU and will untie its hands to solve the problem of Kaliningrad transit created by Lithuania by any means we choose.”

Alikhanov believes that the restriction of rail transit can be compensated with the help of air transportation and an increase in the number of ferries on the Ust-Luga-Baltiysk route. However, a few days earlier, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Governor spoke about the need to increase the capacity of the railway-ferry complex in Baltiysk, since today it cannot accommodate more than five ships.

After the start of the war in Ukraine, the Lithuanian government took one of the toughest positions towards Russia of all European countries. Lithuania was one of the first to close its airspace to Russian aircraft and was the first EU state to announce a complete renunciation of Russian gas. In May, the Lithuanian Seimas passed a resolution declaring Russia a “terrorist state.”

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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