Inlt community should reconsider Kaliningrad's governance – ex-US congressman in Vilnius

  • 2022-07-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The international community should reconsider Kaliningrad's governance, an issue that's not been raised since the end of WWII, said former US congressman John Shimkus of Lithuanian descent,

He says the Kaliningrad transit issue arising lately in the context of the EU should be viewed in the light of the post-war Potsdam Conference agreements that gave Kaliningrad to Russia.

"Well, let's regulate just the Kaliningrad issue by the post WWII treat, that status haven't been negotiated months ago," Shimkus told reporters at the Lithuanian parliament on Thursday.

"There was an agreement that said that after 50 years the international community should consider the status of Kaliningrad. So that's where I am approaching. I mean, the international community should convene and as per the agreement 50 years ago, say: OK, now, how should Kaliningrad be ruled, how should it be governed?" the ex-congressman said. 

He also admitted, however, it could hardly be done amid Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine.

"No. But to not have it on the table as a part of discussion is not right. If you believe in the rule-based system, in treaties, in signed documents, in full faith and credit, and some parties disregard of that. How do you live in peace and harmony? Obviously, you don't. Because you have Russia that has invaded a sovereign country, with no signals to step down," the US politician said.

Speaking of NATO's potential response, he underlined that "bullies only understand strength".

"They only understand when you put all the chips on the table, if you back down, you have a international policy of appeasement, bullies will run you over. I'm very pleased with the European community's response to this unprovoked attack of Ukraine," Shimkus said.

Lithuania banned the transit of steel and ferrous metals through its territory from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad after the EU sanctions, part of the fourth sanction package adopted in mid-March, came into force on June 17.

Russia considers the sanctions to be Lithuania's hostile action and the country's blockade of Kaliningrad. Lithuania denies that and calls Russia's information propaganda, reminding that the transit is subject to the EU sanctions.

The European Commission is currently working on a clarification of how the existing sanctions for Russia should apply to the Kaliningrad transit.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week the EU sanctions on the transit of Russian goods through Lithuania to Kaliningrad should be subject to special rules to reduce tensions with Russia.