Europe

Russia slams Lithuania's ban on transit of some goods to Kaliningrad

Moscow urges 'immediate cancellation' of restrictions which it calls 'unprecedented, illegal,' says it will defend national interests

Elena Teslova   | 20.06.2022
Russia slams Lithuania's ban on transit of some goods to Kaliningrad

MOSCOW

The Kremlin on Monday slammed Lithuania's ban on the rail transit of some goods from Russia to its semi-exclave Kaliningrad region via the Baltic country.

"This decision is truly unprecedented. This is a violation of all and everything. We understand that this is due to the relevant decision of the European Union to extend the sanctions to transit of goods. We also consider this illegal," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a press briefing in Moscow.

Located on the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, and is separated overland from the main part of Russia by Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus. Most railway transit between Russia and Kaliningrad were carried out through Belarus and Lithuania.

On June 18, Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov announced that the Lithuanian railways post facto notified the region's authorities about imposing restrictions on the transit of goods that are subject to EU sanctions from Russia to Kaliningrad.

According to Alikhanov, "everything under sanctions" is prohibited to be shipped via the territory of Lithuania.

Peskov called the situation "more than serious," adding that it demands "a thorough analysis" before taking any steps, this analysis will be completed in the coming days.

"This is an element of a blockade, of course," he said.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement that it summoned the Lithuanian Charge d'Affaires Virginia Umbrasene in Moscow and requested "an immediate cancellation" of the ban.

"We have indicated that we see the provocative measures of the Lithuanian side, violating Lithuania's international legal obligations, primarily the joint statement of the Russian Federation and the European Union on transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation from 2002, as openly hostile," the ministry said.

If the transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russia via Lithuania is not fully restored in the near future, Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests, it warned.

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