VILNIUS - Lithuania is doing a good job in enforcing the existing international sanctions, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte says amid media reports that urea fertilizers made by Belarusian company Grodno Azot are illegally transported through Lithuania.
According to the prime minister, attempts to circumvent the sanctions in Lithuania are common due to the country's geographical location. However, she also questioned the responsibility of Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), the country's state-owned railway company
"I believe Lithuania, considering the burden we have – the logistics of exports and imports to and from the European Union - well, we are still managing really well," Simonyte told the Ziniu Radijas news radio on Thursday.
In her words, the import of Belarusian urea into Lithuania by allegedly bypassing the bans does not prove that the state is not able to ensure proper sanction control as the amount of the fertilizers is much lower, compared to previous cargo flows.
"This sometimes leads people to thinking that, look, the sanctions are not working. I would like to remind you that before the sanctions were introduced, the turnover of fertilizers transported by rail in Lithuania stood at around one million tons per month. And now we’re having a discussion about several thousand tons of urea," Simonyte said.
The Belarusian urea may have been imported to Lithuania using forged documents, the prime minister said, adding that and an investigation will answer all questions and reveal how the cargo got to Lithuania, and those responsible will be held accountable for it.
Simonyte says attempts to circumvent the sanctions in Lithuania happen because of the country's geographical location as re-export routes from the West to the East running through the country.
"Lithuania's geographical situation is complicated because we export very little of our own products to Russia or Belarus, our businesses are reoriented towards Western markets. But the re-export logistics system goes a long way. (...) Unfortunately, there are people whose morals allow them to participate in these schemes," the prime minister said.
She also believes any questions regarding LTG's responsibility are valid.
The urea is believed to have been transported by rail to Lithuania from its only producer in Belarus, Grodno Azot, which is subject to the existing EU sanctions.