Lithuania banned rail traffic on its territory for goods subject to international sanctions against Russia. Moscow responded by warning that if Vilnius did not lift the blockade, it would take the necessary measures
On Friday, Lithuania banned rail traffic on its territory for goods subject to international sanctions against Russia, and isolated the Baltic region of Kaliningrad. Moscow responded yesterday, warning that if Vilnius did not lift the blockade, it would take the necessary measures to defend its national interests. The question can be resolved by diplomatic means, says Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov, which is why the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the EU ambassador to Moscow Markus Eder.
What is Kaliningrad and where is it located?
Kaliningrad is a Russian region separate from the motherland located between Lithuania and Poland and overlooking the Baltic Sea, one of which is one of the main ports: besides Baltizhsk, the only Russian port in the region is open all year round without freezing and the Baltic Fleet has been stationed here since 1952. Kaliningrad, the capital A symmetrical territory, a population of nearly 500,000 and a military outpost from which Moscow could threaten Europe: isolated missiles – even the nuclear-capable Alexander – could hit Berlin and the major cities of Europe. Eastern. It was annexed to the Soviet Union after World War II – until 1946 it was called Knigsberg and was German: the philosopher Immanuel Kant was born there – and its name was changed to Kaliningrad in honor of Mikhail Kalinin, the first president of the Supreme Soviet and Hero of the Russian Revolution. During the presidency of Vladimir Putin, Massimo Nava explained on courierThe isolation gained greater strategic importance in response to the course of the Baltic Republics and Poland towards Europe and NATO: since then, the Baltic Sea has turned into a dangerous basin for war games, those called joint exercises which remain peaceful until proven otherwise.
What did Lithuania decide?
On Friday, the Lithuanian government banned the transit of goods under international sanctions into Russia by rail on its territory: the import and export of minerals, building materials, coal and technological equipment was thus prohibited. As explained by Marco Amarisio in courierThis is an unannounced measure that paralyzes Moscow’s traffic towards the Kaliningrad region.
Why does Moscow threaten the consequences?
Moscow responded harshly to Lithuania’s restrictions on rail freight traffic between Russia’s Kaliningrad region and the rest of Russia. Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, the upper house of parliament, wrote in a post on Telegram that the initial blockade of Kaliningrad violates international law. He added that Lithuania as an EU member state is violating a series of legally binding international measures, referring to the EU-Russia Association Agreement that prohibits interference in their respective transport networks. According to the governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov, 40-50% of cargo transit is affected, especially with regard to metal and building materials. Governor Alikhanov said these are steps that could have far-reaching effects. Sanctions apply to Russian shipments to the European Union. Mutual exchange is prohibited. But what we have transit from Russia to Russia. Another legal definition. More clarification is needed here. Lithuanian railways are aware of this, and have sent another request to the European Commission, for an exact answer regarding transits to Kaliningrad. The commitment of the European Union – concluded Alikhanov – not to impede this transit. The transit of non-sanctioned passengers and goods on the territory of Lithuania between Russia and the Kaliningrad enclave continues, and Vilnius, which prevents sanctioned goods, does nothing but implement EU rules, as determined yesterday at a press conference in Luxembourg, EU High Representative Josep Borel. I am always worried about Russian reprisals – identified by the European diplomat – but let’s be realistic: the land transit between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia has not been stopped. Lithuania has not adopted any unilateral national restrictions, but only applies EU sanctions.
What could happen now?
Emarisio writes, for months, that Russian television hosts constant calls for a corridor between Kaliningrad and the rest of the country, which would only be possible with a military attack. Moscow’s relations with Lithuania, the first of the Baltic states to break away from the Soviet Union in 1990, have always been tense. After Putin’s special military operation began in Ukraine, squares and streets marked for the dead were in January 1991, when Soviet forces attacked government buildings in Vilnius to disrupt the independence process. ongoing in the country. As Wolfgang Mencholow explained last year, we learned from European history how dangerous the passes are: the Suwalki Pass begins from Kaliningrad, with a length of about 300 km, passes into Polish territory and joins Belarus with Lukashenko, a loyal ally of the Kremlin. . Menchu explained that the pass could turn into a double lock for the Baltic states. The siege of Suwalki would strengthen the Kremlin’s control of Belarus and further risk Poland’s security.
Jun 21 2022 (change on Jun 21, 2022 | 09:50 AM)
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