Lithuania comments on blockade of Russia’s Kaliningrad — Analysis

According to Lithuanian FM, the move was in accordance with European Commission.

Lithuania’s decision to block the transit of goods by rail from Russia to Kaliningrad – the country’s western-most exclave that sits between Poland and Lithuania – was made after consulting and getting the approval of the European Commission, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsberg said on Monday.

Landsberg spoke out during a meeting of EU foreign ministers. He explained that Lithuania will no longer permit the transit through its territory of sanctioned goods starting June 17. “This decision was made after consultations with the European commission and implemented under its guidance,”The minister stated.

Anton Alikhanov, governor of Kaliningrad warned last week that Vilnius authorities were planning to reduce rail transit for goods coming from Russia’s other regions to the region. 

On Saturday, Lithuania’s state owned rail operator confirmed it would partially halt the transportation of goods to Kaliningrad, which Alikhanov claims will affect up to 50% of all cargo flow to the region. 

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Russian officials have stated that Lithuanian’s move is an egregious breach of international law and akin to a full blown economic blockade and an attempt to “place the region in an economic chokehold.”

Russia has warned that unless the ‘blockade’ of Kaliningrad is lifted immediately, Moscow may have no choice but to “untie its hands” and rectify the situation by any means necessary. 

As a result of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, many nations, including EU members, have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia. Moscow responded to the European bloc’s closing of Russian aviation airspace on February 27 by banning numerous European airlines.

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