Russia vows 'serious' consequences over Lithuania rail transit ban

Jun. 21, 2022

"Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions," security council chief Nikolai Patrushev said at a regional security meeting in Kaliningrad, a Russian region bordering Lithuania and Poland.

Russia on Tuesday warned EU and NATO member Lithuania of "serious" consequences over restrictions on the rail transit of goods sanctioned by the EU over Ukraine to Moscow's exclave of Kaliningrad. "Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions," security council chief Nikolai Patrushev said at a regional security meeting in Kaliningrad, a Russian region bordering Lithuania and Poland.


He added that "appropriate measures" are in the works and they "will be taken in the near future". "Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania," he said in remarks reported by Russian news agencies. Wedged between EU and NATO members Lithuania and Poland that have firmly backed Ukraine in the conflict with Moscow, the heavily militarised exclave of Kaliningrad does not share a land border with Russia. Moscow has demanded that Lithuania immediately lift the restrictions, which the Baltic Nation says were taken in compliance with European sanctions over Ukraine. Also on Tuesday, Russia's foreign ministry summoned the EU ambassador to Moscow, Markus Ederer, over the "anti-Russian restrictions" on cargo transit between Kaliningrad and mainland Russia.


- 'Escalation of tensions' -


"The inadmissibility of such actions, which violate the relevant legal and political obligations of the European Union and lead to an escalation of tensions, was pointed out," the ministry said in a statement. Speaking after the meeting, Ederer said he called on the Russian side to "remain calm" and "resolve this issue diplomatically", TASS news agency reported. Kaliningrad governor Anton Alikhanov has estimated that the "blockade" affects up to 50 percent of the enclave's imports, including coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology. But the residents of the Baltic Sea region's eponymous capital told AFP they were not concerned, after officials said the goods could instead be delivered by sea. "Of course the sanctions will leave a mark on our region... but I think the government will find a solution to this situation very quickly and everything will be resolved in the near future," said Olga Klimova, a 40-year-old municipal official.


Sailor Semen Shchegolyatov, 36, said he was surprised that Russia is "shocked" by the restrictions now, as it was expected that sanctions would affect the transit of goods. "It's been four months since the special operation, as a sailor going to Lithuania... we were told about it," he said, adding that the only solution now is "to develop a maritime route".


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