Since Saturday, a ban has been imposed on the transit of goods to the Russian Kaliningrad office in Lithuania. These are goods subject to EU sanctions. “This is a violation of international law,” Moscow frowns.
evdgsource: Reuters, Stern
Kaliningrad, a part of Russia located between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, is a strategically important place for Russia. Russia also has the headquarters of the Baltic Fleet there. The news of the ban on the transit of goods towards Kaliningrad was announced, Friday, in a video clip by Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Russian region.
The EU sanctions apply, among other things, to freight trains that include coal, minerals, building materials and advanced technology. According to Alekhanov, the new measure will affect about 50 percent of the goods imported by Kaliningrad.
The start of the ban will be immediate, and it was confirmed by the Lithuanian State Railways Service, which had to provide a “clarification” in a letter to its customers. The letter explained, among other things, how the European Commission’s sanctions enforcement mechanism works.
Alikhanov urged citizens not to engage in panic buying, saying that two ships were already carrying cargo between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg, and seven more would be added by the end of the year. “Our ferries will be able to handle all cargo,” the governor said.
A spokesperson for the Lithuanian Railways confirmed the contents of the letter, but declined to comment further. The State Department did not respond either. And only Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adominas told the public broadcaster that “his institution is awaiting clarification from the European Commission on the application of European sanctions on the transport of goods in Kaliningrad.”
Russia is angry
According to the German newspaper Stern, the Kremlin is dissatisfied with the imposed restrictions. “The embargo violates international law,” Konstantin Kosachev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council, wrote on his Telegram channel.
Kosachev is referring to the EU-Russia Association Agreement, which states that neither party will disrupt the other’s transit. “If things continue like this, it is likely that the West will soon question the freedom of the seas and will prevent access to Kaliningrad by sea,” she added.