Russia switched to open threats to the entire European Union after Lithuania restricted transit to the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation.
Sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine are becoming more and more painful for the Russian Federation. From Saturday, June 18, Lithuania stopped transit trains carrying goods subject to European Union sanctions through its territory. Thus, Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the coast of the Baltic Sea, found itself without communication with the Russian Federation. In response, Russia threatens the EU with war, but this does not particularly bother anyone.
Actions of Lithuania
The governor of the Kaliningrad region of Russia, Anton Alikhanov, said that Lithuania had stopped letting transit trains with goods that fell under the sanctions of the European Union. From the letter of the Lithuanian carrier LTG Cargo, which was published by Alikhanov, it follows that the company received an explanation from the European Commission on sanctions.
According to him, even if sanctioned goods and cargoes go from one part of Russia to another, but through the territory of the EU, their transportation should still be prohibited.
“According to our estimates, we have not yet completed the analysis, this from 40 to 50% of the range of goods transported between the Kaliningrad region and other regions of the Russian Federation. This is including building materials, cement, metals, a number of other important for both construction and production, finished productswhich was exported from our territory,” the governor of the Kaliningrad region said.
According to the agreement between the EU and Russia, the Kaliningrad transit program provides for simplified transit of persons from the territory of Russia to the Kaliningrad region and back through Lithuania. It has been in operation since July 2003. On average, 100 Russian transit trains pass through Lithuania per month.
On Monday, June 20, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania summoned the Charge d’Affaires of Russia Sergei Ryabokon and explained to him the restrictions that apply to the transit of goods to the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation.
“During the meeting, the information disseminated by Russian representatives that Lithuania had banned transit to the Kaliningrad region was refuted,” the department noted.
They stressed that the transportation of passengers and goods not subject to EU sanctions to and from the Kaliningrad region through the territory of Lithuania continues as usual.
“Lithuania did not impose any unilateral, personal or additional restrictions on transit,” the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry stressed.
The ministry recalled that according to the fourth package of EU sanctions, from June 17, the import and transit of steel and steel products to Russia through the EU is prohibited.
Hysteria in Russia
The Federation Council of the Russian Federation said that Russia would have “a free hand to resolve the issue by any means” if the EU does not correct the situation with the “siege of Kaliningrad”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the situation “unprecedented” and the decision illegal, noting that Russia has not yet decided on a response. The tone of the statement by the head of the Federation Council Commission for the Protection of Sovereignty Andrey Klimov bordered on rudeness towards the entire EU: “The European Union, if it does not immediately correct the impudent trick of Vilnius, will itself disavow for us the legitimacy of all documents on Lithuania’s membership in the EU and will untie our hands to solve the created Lithuania the problems of Kaliningrad transit by any means we choose,” Klimov said.
His colleague, member of the Federation Council Andrey Klishas, also did not choose words: “An attempt to establish a de facto blockade of the Kaliningrad region by Lithuania is a violation of Russia’s sovereignty over this region and may be the basis for very tough and absolutely legal actions on the part of Russia,” he says. he.
Moreover, Klishas saw in the ban on the transit of Russian sanctioned goods through Lithuania a threat to the Russian Federation from NATO.
The reaction of Ukraine and the EU
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba reminded that Russia has no one to blame for the current situation, but itself.
“The Russian Federation has no right to threaten Lithuania. Moscow has only itself to blame for the consequences of an unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. We welcome the principled position of Lithuania and firmly support our Lithuanian friends,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
At the same time, chief diplomat Josep Borrell does not yet predict a new round of serious tension in relations with the Russian Federation due to the cessation of transit to the Kaliningrad region.
“You cannot compare the situation in Kaliningrad with the situation in Ukraine for the world community… The situation in Kaliningrad will not affect the rest of the world, but the rest of the world is affected by the situation that is unfolding in Ukraine,” Borrell explained.