VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius is not predicting when Russia will end its blockade of Lithuanian road haulers, reports ELTA. On Sept 19 in an interview with radio Ziniu Radijas, he said that if Russia did not cease discriminatory measures against Lithuania, such actions would be perceived as “economic war.”
“One piece of information received through unofficial channels says that on Sept. 16, others say on Sept. 19, lengthy extra checks will be ceased, but today it is difficult to believe this,” said Butkevicius.
Still, the prime minister said he believed that common sense would prevail. “Otherwise, it could be perceived as a very particular… a kind of economic war,” said Butkevicius.
Russia started subjecting Lithuanian-registered passenger cars to lengthy border checks in August, causing the number of crossings to fall 90 percent. The European Commission called on Russia on Tuesday to stop supplementary border checks on Lithuanian truckers and passenger cars imposed in the last month.
On Tuesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius sent a letter to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, the Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas and the European Commissioners Algirdas Semeta, Karel De Gucht and Stefan Fule to inform that on Sept. 11, the Russian Federation Customs started a thorough checking procedure for freight and carriers from Lithuania, which significantly affects mutual trade and transport systems.
Aleksandras Kondrusevicius, president of the Lithuanian haulers’ association Linava, said no trucks loaded in Lithuania had cleared customs in Russia since Thursday morning. Lithuania estimates that its transport firms and traders lose two million euros a day due to the extra checks.