VILNIUS – The ban on the transit of steel and ferrous metal products via Lithuania to the Russian region of Kaliningrad is not a Lithuanian decision, but it has to do with the EU sanctions for Russia, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Lansbergis says.
"First of all, this is not Lithuania's decision. These are European sanctions that came into force on June 17, and railways are now applying the sanctions and they are notifying their customers that as of June 17 sanctioned goods – steel and other goods made from iron ore –will no longer be taken via Lithuania, and that this is being done in consultation with and in accordance with the European Commission's guidelines," Lansbergis said on Monday ahead of the upcoming meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
Information about the ban has been available since mid-March as the ban part of the EU's fourth sanction package, Lithuania's Customs Department says.
Adopted on March 15, the EU sanction package includes restrictions on Russian steel and other ferrous metal products under contracts concluded before June 17, and as of last Saturday they could no longer be transported across EU territory, a spokeswoman for the department said.
"Overland transit between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia is not suspended or blocked. The transit of passengers and goods not sanctioned by the EU continues. Lithuania has not imposed any unilateral, individual or additional restrictions on this transit. We have not received any additional instructions and we are not taking any additional action," Lina Laurinaityte-Grigiene from the Customs Department told BNS.
She also pointed out that the same ban will come into force on July 10 for cement, alcohol and other products, on coal and other solid fossil fuels on August 10, and also on Russian oil from December 5.