Russia tells Lithuania: your citizens will feel the pain of Kaliningrad

  • Russia warns Lithuania over Kaliningrad
  • Russia summons EU ambassador
  • EU tells Russia to refrain from ‘escalation measures’
  • Lithuania: Ironic to hear Russia complaining about the law

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) – A top ally of President Vladimir Putin told Lithuania on Tuesday that Moscow would respond to its EU-sanctioned ban on goods transit to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad in such a way that citizens of the Baltic state would feel the pain.

As relations between Moscow and the West are at their lowest in half a century since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Lithuania has banned European Union-sanctioned transit of goods through its territory to and from the enclave, citing EU sanction rules.

Nikolai Patrushev, a former KGB spy who is now secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said Lithuania’s ‘hostile’ actions showed Russia could not trust the West, which he said had broken the written agreements on Kaliningrad.

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“Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions,” Patrushev was quoted as saying by the official RIA news agency.

“Appropriate measures are being worked out in an inter-ministerial format and will be taken in the near future,” he said. “Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the Lithuanian population.”

Lithuania, a member of NATO and the European Union, said it was simply applying agreed EU sanctions against Russia, adding it was “ironic” to hear Moscow’s complaints given of his war in Ukraine.

‘NO BLOCKING’

“It is ironic to hear speeches about alleged violations of international treaties from a country that may have violated all international treaties,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte told reporters.

“There is no blockade of Kaliningrad,” Simonyte said. “Lithuania is applying EU sanctions.”

Kaliningrad, the former port of Koenigsberg, capital of East Prussia, was captured from Nazi Germany by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II. It is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, NATO members.

After Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies imposed some of the toughest sanctions in modern history, a move the Kremlin has likened to a declaration of economic war.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned EU Ambassador to Moscow Markus Ederer to file a formal complaint. Read more

“We demanded the immediate restoration of normal Kaliningrad transit. Otherwise, retaliatory measures will follow,” he said.

Ederer urged Russia to refrain from “escalating measures and rhetoric” over the situation, an EU spokesman said.

“He stated our position on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and explained that Lithuania is applying EU sanctions and there is no blockade, and asked them to s ‘refrain from escalation and rhetoric,’ spokesman Peter Stano said in Brussels.

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Kyiv and its Western supporters say this is a false pretext for waging an unprovoked war of aggression.

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Written by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Nick Macfie and Gareth Jones

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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