EC representative in Lithuania: we must ensure that sanctions aren't circumvented

  • 2023-02-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Russia and Belarus are constantly looking for ways to get round EU sanctions, but it is necessary to find ways to prevent this from happening, Marius Vascega, head of the European Commission Representation in Lithuania, said on Wednesday. 

"It is our duty to find ways to ensure that sanctions are not circumvented," he told LRT Radio. 

According to the official, the Commission coordinates the application of sanctions and has set up various mechanisms to deal with cases where issues arise.

"The (currently available) instruments are sufficient," Vascega said.  

"With new packages, we can probably look at whether there is some room for change, but today the aim is for everybody to do their job and to do their best to ensure that the sanctions are applied in full, and to treat seriously every case where this does not happen and to analyze it seriously," he said. 

The official noted that EU member states and their authorities are directly responsible for implementing the bloc's sanctions.

Lithuania's investigative journalism center Siena (Wall) has recently published an investigation showing that the transit of EU-sanctioned Belarusian fertilizers through Lithuania, suspended last year, has not in fact stopped. 

Traced back to its only producer in Belarus, Grodno Azot, urea continues to move by rail to Klaipeda-based Biriu Kroviniu Terminalas (Bulk Cargo Terminal, BKT), which is partly owned by Belarus' state-owned company Belaruskali, according to the investigation carried out by Siena and its partners.

Both Grodno Azot and Belaruskali are subject to EU sanctions.

Reportedly, urea transported both by road and rail crosses the Lithuanian border using a loophole in the sanctions.

Since the EU sanctions apply to Grodno Azot and not to urea, other Belarusian companies that are not on the sanctions lists are named in official documents as fertilizer suppliers.