VILNIUS – The decision by the European Commission to allow transit of sanctioned goods to and from Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad was expected, Laurynas Kasciunas, chairman of the Lithuanian parliament's Committee on National Security and Defense, has said.
The decision would have been different if it had been made by Lithuania on its own, he said describing the clarification provided by the Commission as a compromise solution.
“Of course, it [the decision] is different from what it would have been if it had been made by Lithuania on its own. And, of course, the Commission’s decision can be viewed as a step back from previous clarifications of the Commission,” he told BNS on Wednesday night.
“It [the decision] could have been different and Russia would not be able to do anything substantial to us. Unfortunately, this decision by the Commission is easier to criticize than to defend. However, this clarification provided by the Commission is indeed collective and consensual, just as the entire sanction policy of the European Union,” he added.
According to Kasciunas, common strategic goals require certain compromise decisions therefore Lithuania cannot end up alone and ignore the stance of its key allies.
“Lithuania’s self-isolation would be a big victory for the Kremlin, in particular in the context of the war against Ukraine, as Lithuania is one of the most active advocates of Ukraine’s interests in the EU and NATO as well as the initiator of sanctions against Russia. Today, Russia has not scored any essential victory as the export sanctions remain unchanged,” he said.
The European Commission on Wednesday issued new guidelines, allowing Russia to transport sanctioned goods by rail to and from Kaliningrad via the EU territory, but only for the needs of this exclave.
The transit of some Russian goods to Kaliningrad was halted after the EU sanctions, imposed over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, came into force.
Representatives of Lithuania and the European Commission have held consultations in recent weeks on the transit of sanctioned goods to Kaliningrad following Russia's outrage over the restrictions on steel that came into force in June.