July 7, 2022

Lithuania imposes sanctions on Kaliningrad, infuriating Russia

Lithuania imposes sanctions on Kaliningrad, infuriating Russia

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Moscow warned on Tuesday that Lithuania would face “serious” consequences for preventing the transit of EU-sanctioned goods through its territory to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

The Kremlin called the decision “unprecedented” and “hostile”, and called on the EU’s top diplomat in Moscow to protest.

Kaliningrad regionhundreds of miles west of the rest of Russia, has become the latest flashpoint Between Moscow and Europe with the widening repercussions of the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine.

The city and port of Kaliningrad is located on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland, both of which are part of the European Union and NATO. The region, home to the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet, receives much of its supplies via Lithuania and Belarus and has maritime links with Russia.

How Kaliningrad, the Russian territory surrounded by NATO, became entangled in the Ukraine war

Lithuania’s state railway company, LTG, announced on Friday that it would no longer allow Russian goods subject to EU sanctions, including coal, minerals and building materials, to pass through the country to Kaliningrad – which the region’s governor said would affect nearly half of its imports. . .

Officials in Moscow promised revenge.

“Russia will certainly respond to such hostilities,” said Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, on Tuesday while visiting Kaliningrad. to me Russian news agencies.

He pledged to take “appropriate measures” in the near future but did not provide details. “Its consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania,” Patrushev said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described Lithuania’s decision as “unacceptable”. to me Russian news agency TASS. “The consequences will follow,” she said.

Lithuania, a Baltic state that has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, has said it is implementing EU sanctions – as part of a campaign by Western governments to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

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The Lithuanian railway operator told the Washington Post that the movement of passengers and goods not subject to EU sanctions would continue.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, dismissed Russian perceptions of the Lithuanian move as a blockade.

He said land transit between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia “has not been stopped or banned.” He said at a press conference Monday. “Lithuania has not taken any unilateral national restrictions and only applies EU sanctions.”

The governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, said that goods such as fuel and cement could still be shipped from Russia by sea. The backwater operates as a special economic zone with low taxes, although Western sanctions have hurt its economy.

On Monday, Alikhanov said that while stores and gas stations were full, people rushed to build supply stores because building materials could no longer reach by rail.

Ammar Nazir, Amy Cheng and Annabelle Chapman contributed to this report.