The Kremlin said today that the Russian and Belarusian presidents are working on “joint measures” they can take to respond to Lithuania’s decision to ban the transit of some goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad shares borders with Lithuania and Poland – members of NATO and the EU – and relies on transit through Lithuania for most of the goods it receives from Russia. Lithuania has banned the transit of goods to and from this enclave of the Baltic, citing EU sanctions.
During their telephone conversation, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko “focused on the situation due to the illegal sanctions adopted by Lithuania (…) and in this context discussed possible joint measures,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Apart from Kaliningrad, Lithuania has no common border with Russia. Instead it shares 680 kilometers with Belarus, Moscow’s main ally.
Talks are currently underway between Russia and the EU, with Moscow calling for the lifting of sanctions on the transit of goods, based on a 2002 agreement when the Baltic states joined the EU.
In late June, the governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, estimated that restrictions could be imposed on 40% to 50% of products reaching the enclave.
Earlier today, Lithuania extended restrictions on the passage through its territory of products from Russia bound for Kaliningrad.
As of today, goods such as timber, alcohol, alcohol-based chemicals and cement are prohibited from transiting through Lithuanian territory, a representative of the Lithuanian customs service announced.
Moscow warned Lithuania and the EU on Friday that it would take “tough measures” against them if transit of some goods to and from Kaliningrad was not restored “within the next few days”.