Russia has demanded that Vilnius instantly reverse new restrictions on shipments of Russian items which can be topic to EU sanctions by way of Lithuanian territory to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
The Kremlin known as the Lithuanian transfer “unprecedented” and “unlawful,” whereas the Russian Overseas Ministry stated the restriction was “brazenly hostile” and prompt Moscow would “take actions to guard its nationwide pursuits.”
Kaliningrad is wedged between Lithuania and Poland, the place the Pregolya River feeds into the Baltic Sea. It has about half 1,000,000 inhabitants.
Lithuanian officers imposed the restrictions starting on June 20 in an effort to shore up punitive measures that adopted Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
“The choice is certainly unprecedented. It violates each doable rule,” stated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
“We perceive that it stems from the European Union’s choice to increase sanctions to the transit of products. We consider that it’s unlawful, too.”
Western governments warned Moscow of fierce sanctions and different backlash if Russian troops amassed for months close to the Ukrainian border invaded their smaller neighbor to the west.
Lithuanian officers have prompt Russia can ship items by sea to Kaliningrad, Russia’s solely ice-free port year-round.
The Baltic states and different former Soviet republics have expressed considerations for years amid indicators of an expansionist or revanchist Moscow below former KGB officer Putin and his mix of Russian nationalism and Soviet nostalgia.
The Russian Overseas Ministry stated on June 20 that it summoned the Lithuanian cost d’affaires in Moscow to protest what it known as “provocative” and “brazenly hostile” measures.
“If within the close to future cargo transit between the Kaliningrad area and the remainder of the territory of the Russian Federation by way of Lithuania shouldn’t be restored in full, then Russia reserves the correct to take actions to guard its nationwide pursuits,” the ministry stated.
The EU’s checklist of banned Russian items consists of building supplies, coal, metals, and superior know-how.
European officers clarified for Vilnius that the restrictions embody items transiting EU territory sure for a 3rd nation.
Anton Alikhanov, the governor of Kaliningrad, stated the ban affected round half of the exclave’s imports, a lot of that are moved by rail throughout Lithuania.
He has urged Moscow to invoke tit-for-tat measures towards Lithuania.