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Yahoo News – June 2022

Lithuania has banned the transit of some goods through its territory from Russia to its exclave of Kaliningrad.

It includes coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology, accounting for around 50% of all goods that Kaliningrad imports.

Moscow said the move was “unprecedented” and “unlawful” and threatened to respond.

Lithuania’s foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said his country was simply implementing sanctions imposed by the EU, of which it is a member.

He said the measures introduced on Saturday were taken after “consultation with the European Commission and under its guidelines”.

Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. Home to some 430,000 people, it is isolated from the rest of Russia.

Trains with goods for Kaliningrad travel via Belarus and Lithuania. There’s no transit through Poland. Russia can still supply the exclave by sea, without falling foul of EU sanctions.

‘Unprecedented’ and ‘unlawful’

The local governor in Kaliningrad,  Anton Alikhanov, urged people not to resort to panic buying and assured residents that two ships were already ferrying goods between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg – with seven more vessels expected to be in service by the end of the year.

“Our ferries will handle all the cargo,” the governor said.

Continues …

Comment – June 20, 2022

Lithuania’s decision to block rail transportation links between Russia and its exclave in Kalingrad will be seen as deliberately provocative by hawks in Moscow.

Was that the intention?

Although Russia can still supply Kalingrad by ferry, it should be noted that Lithuania has been a full member of NATO since 2004. So any involvement of the Russian military in trying to reopen rail links might be seen as justifying a full NATO response.

IF that was the intention then the West is playing a very dangerous game. Both Britain and Germany recently expanded their military presence in the Baltic state. Was that done in preparation for something like this?

Whatever the objective, taken with the situation in Ukraine the West appears to be moving inexorably toward a wider conflict with Russia.

Gonzalo Lira gives his take on the full implications of the rail closure below: