Lithuanian PM says there's no blockade of Kaliningrad

  • 2022-06-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania is not interpreting the EU's sanctions and is not blockading Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Tuesday.  

"There's no blockade of Kaliningrad. It's just that since last weekend, sanctions have been into force on some of the goods included in the so-called sanctions package, namely steel and ferrous metals, and accordingly, railway customers or contracting parties have been informed about the application of these sanctions and that these goods cannot be loaded and transported," Simonyte told reporters. 

"The transport of all other goods that are either unsanctioned or not yet subject to sanctions is taking place, as is the transit of passengers under a special agreement between the European Union, Russia and Lithuania," she added. 

In a gesture of goodwill, Lithuania did not suspend the agreement that allows Russian citizens to transit to and from Kaliningrad when Russia could not pay for it because of international sanctions against its banks, the prime minister noted.      

"We had situations during this period when, for example, due to certain restrictions imposed by banks, Russia was unable to pay for passenger transport, which would have formally been a reason to terminate the agreement, but the transport continued and we continued to follow the agreements, and the issues were resolved, and financial institutions were found through which it was possible to make payments and settle the debts," she said. 

Moscow on Monday demanded that Lithuania lift the ban on the rail transit of some goods between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad, saying that the restrictions violate international agreements. 

Vilnius says it has not imposed any unilateral national restrictions as the ban is part of EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Simonyte said it is ironic that such accusations come from Russia. 

"I don't know if there's any international treaty that it [Russia] hasn't violated," she said.