EU says Lithuania acted ‘by the book’ in Kaliningrad transit standoff with Russia
18:30, Tuesday, 21 June, 2022
Lithuania was not acting unilaterally and was only applying EU sanctions when it decided to ban the transit of some goods to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said on Monday, June 20, backing up Vilnius in its new row with Moscow.
The spat has raised concerns about another hotspot in the Baltics, as it follows a week after a draft bill was submitted to the Russian State Duma effectively questioning Lithuania’s independence.
For weeks, Russian state television has been discussing, among other things, whether Moscow should open a “corridor” from Belarus through Poland – the so-called Suwałki Gap – and thus bypass the land route through Lithuania.
“In accordance with EU sanctions, there are import and export restrictions that apply in relations with certain goods,” Borrell said on Monday after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. “The accusation against Lithuania that it is implementing Lithuanian sanctions is false, pure propaganda,” he said.
“Lithuania is doing nothing else but implementing the guidelines provided by the European Commission […] if they transit through EU territory for some goods, it’s prohibited,” he added.