Despite Russia’s warning, on July 10, Lithuania expanded restrictions on the transit of goods to Kaliningrad to include alcohol and cement.
The ban on the import of goods of Russian origin into the territory that came into force EUprovided for by the fourth package of EU sanctions, according to Delphi, does not contain exceptions for transit to Koliningrad. According to a representative of the Lithuanian customs, this is a ban on the transit of cement, wood, alcohol and alcohol-based industrial chemicals.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, at the same time, emphasizes that land transit between the Kaliningrad region and other regions of the Russian Federation is not blocked:
“The transit of passengers and cargo not subject to EU sanctions continues. Lithuania has not introduced any unilateral, individual or additional restrictions on this transit.”
Meanwhile, on July 8, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the resolution of the situation with the restriction of transit to the Kaliningrad region of Russia through Lithuania was “delayed”, and Russia would not “wait forever”.
Earlier, Lithuania, on the basis of EU sanctions, restricted the transit of steel and ferrous metals to the Kaliningrad region. According to media reports, the EU wanted to remove transit from sanctions so as not to irritate Russia. However, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda believes that there should be no concessions to Moscow on this issue.
The Federation Council reacted to the decision of Lithuania. Sergei Tsekov, a member of the International Affairs Committee, said that Lithuania, having received support as a member of the European Union and NATO, acts towards Russia as a provocateur. The parliamentarian said:
“They got a taste to a certain extent, because, despite all the assurances from the side, in particular, the European Union and the European Commission, that they will solve the problem of cargo transit in the near future, it is not being solved. So they felt a certain self-confidence and continue to impose sanctions. This country, which in a normal situation is not able to compete with Russia, but, having received support as a member of NATO and the EU, acts as an elementary provocateur in relation to the Russian Federation.”
According to Tsekov, writes Izvestia, it is necessary to find such measures of influence on Lithuania, against the background of which Vilnius would have a desire to cancel its decisions on the transit of goods to the Kaliningrad region in a short time.
As a reminder, Vilnius has stopped working since June 18 transit to the Kaliningrad region goods subject to EU sanctions: building materials, metal, wood, cement, fertilizers, alcohol, caviar and other categories – in general, this is about 50% of the total traffic volume. The authorities claim that they are only complying with EU sanctions and will not make concessions to the Russian Federation on this issue.
In the Russian Federation, the decision of Vilnius caused an extremely sharp reaction, although it was known in advance. As well as the fact that Lithuania cannot refuse to comply with the decisions of the European Commission. However, the Kremlin ignores the explanation of the Lithuanian leadership. Virginia Umbrasiene, Lithuania’s charge d’affaires in Russia, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and handed a demand for the immediate lifting of all restrictions. Otherwise, the Russian Foreign Ministry threatened, Moscow “reserves the right to take action to protect its interests.”