VILNIUS – With the European Union being too slow to ban Russian ships from the bloc's ports, a regional decision to do so may be made, Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said on Thursday.
"If these discussions go on for an impossibly long time, it seems to me that this will be a regional step," he told the Ziniu Radijas radio station.
While there has been is a lot of discussion in Brussels on sanctions against Russian ships, no final step has been taken yet, according to Skuodis.
"I can only regret this, because I think we should have done this much earlier," he said adding.
He said that Lithuania could impose a national ban on Russian ships to enter its seaport of Klaipeda, but such a measure requires a broader agreement among countries to be effective.
"Historically, the number [of Russian ships entering Lithuania] has been small," he noted
In the wake of the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine, the EU is considering closing the bloc's ports to vessels sailing under the Russian flag or otherwise connected to the country or to individuals and businesses linked to it.
Representatives of Lithuanian organizations of ship-owners and agents have told BNS that it could be difficult to implement the ban fully, because it not always possible to quickly trace ships' links with Russia.