VILNIUS – The European Commission decided on Thursday to allocate 24 million euros for the purchase of risk management tools for the Kaliningrad transit scheme, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry said.
"The project, which will see the State Border Guard Service acquire a helicopter and other vehicles and special equipment, is aimed at strengthening the management of security risks related to the implementation of the Special Transit Scheme," the ministry said in a press release.
Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite says the additional funding “will help ensure maximum security” of the Kaliningrad transit scheme.
"In these difficult times, we have to pay special attention to the transit of passengers and freight by train to the Kaliningrad region," the minister was quoted as saying in the press release. "We must remain vigilant as the geopolitical situation in the region deteriorates."
"We are grateful to the European Commission for its understanding and cooperation," she added.
In line with its international commitments, Lithuania continues to ensure smooth and uninterrupted transit of passengers and freight by train via its territory to and from the Russian exclave, Bilotaite said.
A year ago, Bilotaite asked the Commission for additional EU funding to ensure the security of the EU-Russia Special Transit Scheme in light of the new geopolitical context, according to the press release.
The ministry said that thanks to its efforts, Lithuania had secured an additional 94 million euros from the Commission over the last three years for stepping up the protection of the bloc's external border and boosting its domestic security.