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Dispute over transit to Kaliningrad: Russia threatens Lithuania with measures due to restricted rail freight traffic – politics

Russia has Lithuania openly hostile Restrictions on rail freight traffic to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in the course of EU sanctions and thus fueled tensions with the Baltic states. If cargo transit between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia via Lithuanian territory is not quickly fully restored, Russia will keep to itself the right to take action to protect its national interests, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow warned on Monday. Brussels stressed that the measures were in line with EU sanctions, but announced a review of the guidelines on sanctions.

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According to the ministry, the Lithuanian chargé d’affaires was summoned to Moscow to speak out against the provocativemeasures to protest. From the Russian point of view, the restriction on the delivery of goods violates an agreement between Russia and the EU from 2002. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis as well as the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, however, that the measures are in line with those imposed by the EU because of the Russian war of aggression against the Ukraine imposed sanctions.

Kaliningrad – the former East Prussian Königsberg – is located on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland and has no direct land connection to Russia. Landsbergis said on the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers’ consultations in Luxembourg that the transport restrictions would affect steel products and other goods made from iron ore.

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However, according to the governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, 40 to 50 percent of imports from the Blockade be affected – in addition to metal, coal, building materials and technological goods.

Kremlin accuses Lithuania of violating principles

The Kremlin spoke of one unprecedented Lithuania’s decision contrary to all principles. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: The situation is more than serious. You’ll be facing now reactions checked. He did not specify the nature of these countermeasures.

The relations between Russia and Lithuania as well as the two other Baltic countries Latvia and Estonia are already extremely tense due to the Ukraine war. The Baltic states fear becoming the next target of Russian military aggression. The three countries belong to both the EU and NATO.

Landsbergis said on the freight restrictions: It’s not Lithuania doing anything – it’s the European sanctions that came into force on June 17. The restrictions are in consultation with the European Commission and in accordance with the directives of the European Commission”. The affected customers have also been informed.

EU will examine guidelines on sanctions

For his part, Borrell emphasized that it was not one Blockade Kaliningrad, but only about the ban on the transport of certain types of goods. Land transit between Russia has not been stopped or banned, the EU foreign policy chief said at a press conference in Luxembourg. However, the EU will review the guidelines on sanctions again, Borrell promised.

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More on the Ukraine war at Tagesspiegel Plus:

Ukraine, meanwhile, underlined its solidarity with Lithuania. Russia has no right to threaten Lithuania, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter. “We welcome Lithuania’s principled position and firmly support our Lithuanian friends.

Separated from the rest of Russian territory, Kaliningrad is of great strategic and military importance to Russia. The port city is home to the Russian Baltic Fleet. According to Russia, it has stationed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in the exclave. (AFP)

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