VILNIUS – Russian fuel shipments through Lithuania continued up to March 28, but this was not military transit, Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said on Wednesday.
No military transit "in terms of the transport of military vehicles and equipment" has taken place since 2014, but fuel was allowed to be transported via Lithuanian territory based on a 1993 agreement, according to the minister.
"Some 400 to 500 rail tank cars transited (Lithuania) every year," he told reporters, adding that he cannot give exact figures on the quantity of fuel shipped via the country.
Anusauskas' comment came after Raimundas Lopata, chairman of the parliamentary Committee for the Future, said on Facebook that Lithuania had not banned military transit to Kaliningrad until late March.
The defense minister confirmed that the transit of fuel was only stopped on March 28, following consultation with "our strategic allies".
"The Western powers were wary of any such initiatives at that time. But everything was still in our hands," he said. "Only guidance was given (that there should be) no more permits."
The Movement Control Centre of the Lithuanian Armed Forces was tasked with controlling the transit and asked to stop issuing permits for fuel shipments, according to Anusauskas.
In his words, Russia's fuel shipments included, for example, coal, which could have been used "for boiler rooms in some (military) units".
In the minister's words, the Defense Ministry and the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense received data on fuel shipments every two months.