Baltics support ban on Russian grain imports into EU – Lithuanian minister

  • 2024-01-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Baltic countries are in favor of adding Russian and Belarusian grain to the European Union's sanctions package, Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said on Wednesday.

"The Baltic countries would support the inclusion of Russian and Belarusian grain imports to the European Union into the EU sanctions package," he told BNS in a comment.  

Skuodis discussed the issue of tightening sanctions against Russia and Belarus with Latvian Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens and Estonian Climate Minister Kristen Michal earlier on Wednesday. 

"We agreed on the need to coordinate all actions with each other, avoiding individual national initiatives, and to continue exchanging information on transport issues, both in the grain and other sectors," the Lithuanian minister added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Skuodis said that the transit of Russian grain through Lithuania poses no major concern as most of it goes via Latvia, which is "a big problem",

"In Lithuania, it is not a significant issue as the volumes are very small, but in Latvia, it is still a big problem," he said.

Agriculture Minister Kestutis Navickas has said earlier that EU sanctions do not apply to food products from Russia, but its grain imports into the bloc could be restricted through transport-related bans.

The minister admitted, however, that it would be difficult to push through such a decision in Brussels.

Ausrys Macijauskas, head of the Lithuanian Association of Grain Growers, last month called for stronger controls at Lithuania's border with Latvia to prevent Russian grain from entering Lithuania. 

He said about a million tons of grain had entered Latvia from Russia so far. 

Navickas said there was a risk that Russian grain could be imported into Lithuania by falsifying its documents of origin.