By LIUDAS DAPKUS, Related Press
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania on Monday defended its resolution to bar rail transit from Russia to a Russian Baltic Sea exclave of products hit by European Union sanctions, in a transfer that drew Moscow’s robust anger amid excessive tensions within the area.
Lithuanian International Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis stated his nation was merely implementing sanctions imposed by the EU, of which it’s a member. He stated the measures had been taken after “session with the European Fee and below its tips”.
“Sanctioned items (will) not be allowed to transit Lithuanian territory,” Landsbergis added.
Items on the listing embrace metal, however are set to be broadly expanded to cowl objects from coal to alcoholic drinks.
The Kaliningrad exclave, house to some 430,000 folks, is surrounded by Lithuania and Poland, one other EU nation, to the south and remoted from the remainder of Russia. Trains with items for Kaliningrad journey through Belarus and Lithuania. Russia can nonetheless provide the exclave by sea, with out falling foul of EU sanctions.
Russia has demanded that Lithuania instantly lifts the ban on items transport introduced final week, with the International Ministry in Moscow saying that if transport hyperlinks are usually not restored in full “Russia reserves the correct to take motion in protection of its nationwide pursuits.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov strongly denounced the “illegal” ban.
“This resolution, certainly unprecedented, is a violation of all the pieces after which some. We perceive that it’s linked to the related resolution of the European Union to increase the sanctions to transit (of products). This we additionally take into account illegal,” Peskov instructed reporters on Monday.
The international ministry summoned Lithuania’s chief diplomatic consultant in Moscow for a proper protest and alleged the Baltic nation was performing in breach of worldwide agreements. Lithuania has not had an envoy in Moscow since April, when it downgraded diplomatic ties in protest on the killing of civilians in areas of Ukraine which had been held by Russian troops after the Feb. 24 invasion.
On Monday, Lithuanian customs stated the sanctions, which took impact in mid-June, had been a part of the fourth EU sanctions bundle imposed on March 15.
Lina Laurinaityte Grigiene, a customs spokeswoman, stated affected objects embrace Russian metal “that can not be transported over the territory of European nations.”
“The land transit between Kaliningrad and different components of Russia shouldn’t be stopped or blocked. All items that aren’t below sanctions journey freely,” she stated.
She added that beginning July 10, comparable sanctions will probably be carried out on concrete and alcohol items, from Aug. 10 on coal and from December no Russian oil will probably be allowed into EU territory.
Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Russian exclave, has estimated that the ban would have an effect on some 50% of all items flowing in direction of Kaliningrad by rail. He additionally has stated he would name on Russian authorities to take measures towards Lithuania for imposing the ban and would search to have extra items despatched by ship.
Kaliningrad, which is house to the Russian Baltic Fleet, is Russia’s solely ice-free Baltic port. Moscow has additionally deployed there nuclear-capable Iskander missiles.
As a part of its financial sanctions, the EU has imposed quite a lot of import and export restrictions on Russia. The bloc stated it has been cautious to not hurt the Russian inhabitants with its packages of measures and subsequently excluded merchandise associated to well being, pharma, meals and agriculture. The listing of sanctioned merchandise embrace as much as 90% of oil imports, coal, metal, iron, wooden, in addition to caviar and vodka. Bans are carried out by the EU’s customs authorities.
Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Samuel Petrequin in Brussels contributed to this report.
Observe the AP’s protection of the warfare at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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