Russia on Monday (20 June) demanded that Lithuania immediately lift a ban on the transit of some goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Lithuania’s top envoy in Moscow to deliver a protest while the Kremlin said the situation was beyond serious.
“The situation is more than serious,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “This decision is really unprecedented. It’s a violation of everything.”
Russia’s foreign ministry demanded Vilnius reverse what it cast as an “openly hostile” move immediately.
“If cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation via Lithuania is not fully restored in the near future, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests,” it said.
Lithuanian authorities banned the transit of goods which are sanctioned by the European Union across its territory, which includes the only rail route between mainland Russia and the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea. Banned goods include coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Russia has no right to threaten Lithuania, and that Moscow has only itself to blame for the consequences of the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has no right to threaten Lithuania. Moscow has only itself to blame for the consequences of its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. We commend Lithuania’s principled stance and stand firmly by our Lithuanian friends. @GLandsbergis
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) June 20, 2022
Home to the headquarters of Russia’s Baltic sea fleet, the enclave was captured from Nazi Germany by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union after World War Two.
Kaliningrad, formerly the port of Koenigsberg, capital of East Prussia, was captured from Nazi Germany by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union after World War Two. Sandwiched between EU and NATO members Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad receives supplies from Russia via rail and gas pipelines through Lithuania.
(Edited by Georgi Gotev)