EU ban on Russian coal comes into force, Lithuania transit allowed

  • 2022-08-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - A ban on the transit of Russian coal and solid fuel through the EU comes into force on Wednesday as the transitional period of the EU's fifth sanction package for Russia ends.

However, the ban is subject to an exception in Lithuania under the European Commission's clarification and a limited amount of sanctioned products can be transported by rail.

Based on data provided to BNS by Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), the country's state-owned railway company, 1 million tons of coal were transported by rail from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad via Lithuania in January-May.

Russia resumed the transit of sanctioned goods to and from Kaliningrad in July, about a month after Lithuania banned it on the basis of an EU regulation adopted in April and the EC's earlier clarification.

After Russia called the restrictions a blockade of its Kaliningrad region and threatened to retaliate, the EC issued updated guidance in July, allowing rail transit to resume, with this year's freight volumes to be calculated based on the average of goods transported in 2019-2021.

The ban on Russian steel and ferrous metals came into force on June 17, followed by a ban on the transit of cement, alcohol, wood, glass, aluminum, paper products, gypsum and ship parts on July 10. A ban on Russian oil and its products is set to come into force on December 5.

An LTG spokeswoman says some 5 percent of applications for the transportation of sanctioned goods are rejected under the EC's clarification. 

"Based on the EC guideline, so far rejected applications for the transportation of goods between Russia and the Kaliningrad region via the territory of Lithuania have been sporadic and have accounted for up to 5 percent of all applications for the transportation of goods in this direction," the company's communication partner Kotryna Dzikaraite told BNS.