On June 18, the Lithuanian government imposed sanctions on cargo transit to the Kaliningrad region. This applies to a range of goods: resources, materials, and high technology.
There will be no complete lockdown of Kaliningrad. Restrictions have affected only sub-sanctioned goods (for example, coal, metal, and building materials). up to 50 % of the cargoes, which were transported between the exclave and other regions of the country, including building materials and metals were subjected to restrictions. Products made of cast iron and steel, dozens of items of industrial equipment, and products for use in the aviation and aerospace industries are among the goods already banned for carriage. In total, the restrictive list included 23 sections. Road transportation was also not affected by the restrictions, only railroad transportation. The sanctions began to be applied by the main Lithuanian railway company on the line connecting Kaliningrad and Moscow through part of the Lithuanian territory and Belarus.
Expectedly, the Kremlin reacted extremely negatively to Lithuania’s decision, calling it openly hostile. The response also stated that Russia reserves the right to defend its national interests. Moscow’s position is also that NATO is building up its military and reconnaissance presence near Russia’s northwestern borders. As a result, the situation in the region is shaped by unprecedented political, informational, and economic pressure from the West.
The Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Shimonite said that Lithuania is not blockading Kaliningrad, but merely implementing the EU sanctions against Russia. Moreover, Lithuania did not break the agreement on passenger transportation.
Shimonte stated: “There is no blockade of Kaliningrad; it’s just that since last weekend, sanctions have been imposed on some of the goods in the so-called sanctions package, in particular steel and ferrous metals, and rail customers or contract parties have been informed of the imposition of these sanctions, that they [goods] cannot be transshipped and transported. All other goods not subject to sanctions, as well as passenger transit, for which there is a special agreement between the European Union, Russia and Lithuania, are transported.
It should be noted the successful trade turnover between Russia and Lithuania. In 2019, the amount of trade turnover amounted to 9 billion dollars. Lithuania bought fuel, semi-finished products and resources, Russia bought electronics, equipment and consumer goods. Russia accounted for about 10% of Lithuanian foreign trade. Lithuania gave up gas and electricity at the beginning of the special operation in Ukraine.
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