Lithuania regulates rail transit: Kaliningrad’s “blockade” upsets Moscow

Lithuania regulates rail transit
Kaliningrad’s “blockade” annoys Moscow

Kaliningrad is part of Russia, but is 1000 kilometers from Moscow, sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland. To enforce sanctions, Lithuania has recently restricted Russian rail transport through its territory. Violation of international law?

Political leaders in Moscow reacted indignantly to Lithuania’s restrictions on rail transit between Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and the Russian mainland. Kaliningrad’s “initial blockade” violates international law, Konstantin Kosachev, the deputy chairman of the Federation of the Russian Federation, wrote on his television channel Telegram last night. The Kaliningrad Exclave lies between Lithuania and Poland. It is only about 500 kilometers from Berlin, but more than 1000 kilometers from Moscow.

“Lithuania, as an EU Member State, violates a number of legally binding international legal acts under sanctions (national law), which affect not only Lithuania’s obligations but also the EU as a whole,” she wrote. Kosachev, one of Russia’s top foreign policy leaders. The EU-Russia Partnership Agreement stipulates that neither party will disrupt the transit of the other. If things continue like this, the West is likely to call into question the freedom of the seas and block sea access to Kaliningrad, Kosatschow said.

Goods on the Western sanctions lists may not be transported between Kaliningrad and Russia on a transit line through Lithuania from Saturday. According to the head of the Kaliningrad regional administration Anton Alichanov, this affects 40 to 50 percent of all goods in transit, such as building materials and metals.

Russian state television’s talk shows have been calling for a “corridor” from the center of Russia to Kaliningrad for weeks. That would mean a Russian attack on NATO members Latvia and Lithuania. More than 1,000 Bundeswehr troops are already deployed in Lithuania to support partner countries. Last week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany would continue to expand its military presence on NATO’s eastern flank.

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