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Lithuania Pres: Kaliningrad Tensions Are EU, Not Bilateral, Issue

EU-RUSSIA

Speaking at the European Council summit in Brussels, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda states that the current heightened level of tensions between Russia and Lithuania over access to the Kaliningrad exclave is not a bilateral issue, but one between the EU and Russia.

  • Lithuanian gov't has argued that it is not unilaterally blockading train shipments of coal, metals, and construction materials to Kaliningrad via Lithuania, but simply enforcing existing EU sanctions on the import of these goods from Russia.
  • Nauseda states that "The story is very simple: We just implemented the fourth package of sanctions, which were imposed in March with a certain transitional period, which is currently expiring...And yes, there’s a need, probably, to set those rules more precisely. But even after this we will continue to implement the sanctions according to European Union rules,”
  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell worked hard not to contradict the Lithuanian leader, but stated that the control of goods transiting EU territory from Russia “has to be implemented in a clever way … in order to control the sanctions but not obstruct the traffic between Kaliningrad and Russia,”
  • Russian gov't has promised retaliatory measures should it not be able to transit goods via rail through Lithuania. Likely to focus on areas such as cyberattacks first, given that Lithuania is a NATO state any military action risks a major escalation.
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Speaking at the European Council summit in Brussels, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda states that the current heightened level of tensions between Russia and Lithuania over access to the Kaliningrad exclave is not a bilateral issue, but one between the EU and Russia.

  • Lithuanian gov't has argued that it is not unilaterally blockading train shipments of coal, metals, and construction materials to Kaliningrad via Lithuania, but simply enforcing existing EU sanctions on the import of these goods from Russia.
  • Nauseda states that "The story is very simple: We just implemented the fourth package of sanctions, which were imposed in March with a certain transitional period, which is currently expiring...And yes, there’s a need, probably, to set those rules more precisely. But even after this we will continue to implement the sanctions according to European Union rules,”
  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell worked hard not to contradict the Lithuanian leader, but stated that the control of goods transiting EU territory from Russia “has to be implemented in a clever way … in order to control the sanctions but not obstruct the traffic between Kaliningrad and Russia,”
  • Russian gov't has promised retaliatory measures should it not be able to transit goods via rail through Lithuania. Likely to focus on areas such as cyberattacks first, given that Lithuania is a NATO state any military action risks a major escalation.