Lithuania changes tune on Kaliningrad blockade — Analysis
Vilnius maintains that it has not introduced additional restrictions and is instead adhering EU sanction
Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry on Monday handed a note to Moscow’s chargé d’affaires in the country explaining the application of EU sanctions on the transit of a number of goods between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave nestled between Poland and Lithuania.
Vilnius claims that the country hasn’t outlawed transit between Russia and its exclave, and it hasn’t imposed any restrictions. Lithuania claims that transit for passengers and goods, which are not under EU sanctions, will continue as before through its territory.
“Lithuania has not imposed any unilateral, individual, or additional restrictions on the transit. Lithuania has consistently implemented EU sanctions, which have different transition periods and deadlines for entry into force,”Read the entire note.
Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, stated earlier that these restrictions were imposed by Vilnius following consultation with the European Commission. It was then implemented according to its direction.
Lithuania’s state railway service, LTG Cargo, which operates the only overland rail route that links Kaliningrad with mainland Russia, announced on Saturday that it will no longer allow the transit of EU sanctioned goods through its territory.
According to the service, a clarification by the European Commission was provided that said goods or cargoes sanctioned for transiting from Russia to the EU should be banned.
Russian authorities have since slammed the move as an ‘economic blockade’ of Kaliningrad Region. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted on Monday that Vilnius’s decision was “unprecedented” “a violation of anything and everything.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Vilnius’s “provocative” actions are a violation of the country’s international legal obligations to allow the transit of cargo between Russia and Kaliningrad. Russia regards this as a violation of international legal obligations. “openly hostile”Russia has the option to lift these restrictions if Lithuania does not immediately. “defend its national interests.”
Meanwhile, the head of Russia’s commission for the defense of state sovereignty, Andrey Klimov, has argued that Lithuania’s move was an act of “direct aggression”Moscow was rebuked and told that Russia could not have its members fall unless they made them pay. “solve the problem of the Kaliningrad transit created by Lithuania by ANY means chosen by us.”
According to Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov, who warned of Vilnius’s intentions on Friday, the new restrictions, which ban the transit of goods such as coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology, will affect nearly 50% of all cargo flow to the region.
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