Lithuania sought EC's public clarification on transit, not change – Landsbergis

  • 2022-07-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania had sought a public clarification from the European Commission on the transit of sanctioned Russian goods to Kaliningrad, not a change of it, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says.

"We asked for what had been clarified at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be clarified publicly and equally for all states," the minister told reporters at the Seimas on Tuesday, adding that the EC's clarification to Vilnius was for internal use, and the aspiration was to make it public for all member states.

"If an official clarification is issued, it applies equally to all states without any additional questions. That is what we asked for," the minister said. "Lithuania did not ask for a replacement of the first clarification, but this is what we have now."

Landsbergis once again said he would not comment on why the EC had decided to change the previous clarification as he didn’t want to speculate.

Last week, the EC issued its new guidelines allowing Russia to transport sanctioned goods by rail to and from the Kaliningrad region via Lithuania for the purposes of the exclave only.

Lithuania had stopped the transit of some Russian goods to Kaliningrad after the EU sanctions imposed in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine came into force, as Vilnius said it did so was based on the EC's previous guidelines that banned transit.

The move angered Moscow, and the EC said it would issue updated guidelines.

Lithuania was already informed back in April that the European Commission was going to issue additional guidelines, TV3 reported earlier on Tuesday.

Landsbergis says the current clarification "leaves no grey areas", but "leaves a certain amount of technical discretion".

"It is up to the state itself to decide how it will enforce certain details. That is what we are doing, and inter-institutional consultations are now ongoing to calculate the quantities, and also on other issues," the minister said. "I would not rule out that they (other issues – BNS) will also be coordinated with the EC at other stages."