he Russian Foreign Ministry has responded to Lithuania’s partial blockade of Kaliningrad, writing in a statement that they consider the “provocative measures” to be “openly hostile” and warning that the Kremlin may take action to “protect its national interests.”
Kaliningrad is sandwiched between the EU and NATO members Poland and Lithuania. Supplies from Russia are delivered via rail and gas pipelines through Lithuania – which announced last week that it was banning the rail transit of goods subject to EU sanctions, which include coal, advanced technology, metals and construction materials.
“If in the near future cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the territory of the Russian Federation through Lithuania is not restored in full, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests,” the statement reads.
Earlier Monday, the Kremlin called Lithuania’s announcement “unprecedented” and “in violation of everything there is.”
“The situation is more than serious and it requires a very deep analysis before formulating any measures and decisions,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a statement to the press.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said they were simply complying with sanctions imposed by the EU, and that they were taken after “consultation with the European Commission and under its guidelines.”
“Sanctioned goods (will) no longer be allowed to transit Lithuanian territory,” he added.
Kaliningrad governor Anton Alikhanov says that the ban, which was confirmed on Friday, affects roughly 50% of all imports. He urged citizens not to panic-buy…
Quite possibly the biggest Russia-West provocation of the entire four-month long war in Ukraine has occurred this weekend, but few in the media establishment seem to be taking notice of the singular event which has the potential to quickly spiral toward a WW3 scenario.
Baltic EU/NATO member Lithuania has implemented a ban on all rail transit goods going to Russia’s far-western exclave of Kaliningrad, after transport authorities initially announced the provocative measure on Friday. “The EU sanctions list notably includes coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology, and Alikhanov said the ban would cover around 50% of the items that Kaliningrad imports,” Reuters wrote.
This has given way to fears of panic buying breaking out in Kaliningrad Oblast, which is Russian sovereign territory on the Baltic Sea, but which is sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, and is thus reliant on overland shipping for passage via its EU neighbors.
Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Russian oblast which has a total population of some one million people (with Kaliningrad city including almost 450,000 – and 800,000 total if outlying suburbs are counted) is urging calm:
Urging citizens not to resort to panic buying, Alikhanov said two vessels were already ferrying goods between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg, and seven more would be in service by the end of the year.
“Our ferries will handle all the cargo”, he said on Saturday.
Russian officials and media have long warned against what they dubbed Western aims to “blockade” Kaliningrad. Crucially, the EU enforcement measure being implemented from Vilnius marks a complete break in a three decade long treaty that’s been in effect…