By Chris King • 21 June 2022 • 4:25
Lithuanian customs officials blocked EU-sanctioned goods from reaching the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad this Monday, June 20. As a result, Moscow has threatened action against the country if they do not lift this ban, according to metro.co.uk.
“The land transit between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia is not stopped or blocked. All goods that are not under sanctions travel freely”, said Lina Laurinaityte Grigiene, a Lithuanian customs spokeswoman.
She added that: “Goods, including Russian steel, cannot be transported over the territory of European countries”. Their actions were in line with the fourth package of EU sanctions imposed on March 15, which came into effect in the middle of June she insisted.
Speaking with reporters, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said: “This decision, indeed unprecedented, is a violation of everything and then some. We understand that it is connected to the relevant decision of the European Union to extend the sanctions to the transit of goods”.
He continued: “This we also consider unlawful. Russia reserves the right to take action in defence of its national interests”. Any attack on Lithuania – which is a NATO member – would of course be deemed an attack on the alliance.
Lithuania’s chief diplomatic representative in Moscow was promptly summoned to the Foreign Ministry, which lodged a formal complaint. They argued that the action was in breach of international agreements.
Russia’s envoy in Vilnius was subsequently summoned to inform him that there was no blockade of Kaliningrad, but that they were simply following EU guidelines.
“Russia has no right to threaten Lithuania. Moscow has only itself to blame for the consequences of its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine”, tweeted Dmytro Kuleba, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine.
Sandwiched in between Poland and Lithuania, and isolated from Russia, the tiny territory of Kaliningrad has a population of around 430,000.
Sanctioned items, including steel, have been prevented from passing by rail into Kaliningrad. These goods normally travel across the country from Russia, via Belarus, and then on through Lithuania, to their final destination in the Russian Baltic Sea territory.
Without breaking EU sanctions, Russia can still transport supplies by sea if necessary, but Moscow is demanding Lithuania lifts its ban.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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