Anger as Lithuania bans transit of products to Russia exclave Kaliningrad
Lithuania has banned the transit of some items via its territory from Russia to its exclave of Kaliningrad.
It contains coal, metals, building supplies and superior expertise, accounting for round 50% of all items that Kaliningrad imports.
Moscow mentioned the transfer was “unprecedented” and “illegal” and threatened to reply.
Lithuania’s international minister Gabrielius Landsbergis mentioned his nation was merely implementing sanctions imposed by the EU, of which it’s a member.
He mentioned the measures launched on Saturday have been taken after “session with the European Fee and below its tips”.
Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. House to some 430,000 individuals, it’s remoted from the remainder of Russia.
Trains with items for Kaliningrad journey through Belarus and Lithuania. There isn’t any transit via Poland. Russia can nonetheless provide the exclave by sea, with out falling foul of EU sanctions.
‘Unprecedented’ and ‘illegal’
The native governor in Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, urged individuals to not resort to panic shopping for and guaranteed residents that two ships have been already ferrying items between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg – with seven extra vessels anticipated to be in service by the top of the yr.
“Our ferries will deal with all of the cargo,” the governor mentioned.
Russia’s international ministry demanded Lithuania instantly raise the ban, saying that if transport hyperlinks should not restored in full “Russia reserves the appropriate to take motion in defence of its nationwide pursuits”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred to as the ban “illegal”.
“This resolution, certainly unprecedented, is a violation of every little thing after which some. We perceive that it’s linked to the related resolution of the European Union to increase the sanctions to transit (of products). This we additionally take into account illegal,” Peskov advised reporters on Monday.
Sandwiched between EU and NATO members Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad is a port metropolis and was an essential Baltic Sea buying and selling port for tons of of years.
It has been a part of the Soviet Union or Russia for the reason that finish of WWII and at this time is dwelling to virtually half one million individuals.
Though Kaliningrad is a part of Russia, it has no land or sea borders with Russia, and receives all its Russian provides through rail and fuel pipelines via Lithuania.
The exclave is strategically essential for Russia’s army presence within the Baltic Sea. It’s dwelling to the headquarters of Russia’s Baltic sea fleet.