The Kremlin has slammed Lithuania’s rail transit restrictions between Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and mainland Russia as “illegal”. “This decision is really unprecedented and is a violation of everything,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, according to the Interfax agency. The EU’s decision to even impose sanctions on Russia is illegal. He spoke of a “more than serious situation”.
The Kaliningrad exclave around the former Königsberg lies between Lithuania and Poland. It is only about 500 kilometers from Berlin, but more than 1000 kilometers from Moscow.
Lithuania has banned the rail transit of goods on western sanctions lists via its territory to Kaliningrad since Saturday. According to the head of the Kaliningrad regional administration, Anton Alikhanov, this affects 40 to 50 percent of all goods in transit, such as building materials and metals.
Peskow spoke of “elements of a blockade”. He didn’t want to say anything about possible countermeasures. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Lithuania’s acting diplomatic representative in Moscow because of the transit restrictions – the ambassador was withdrawn in April because of the Ukraine war. Moscow called on Vilnius to lift the restrictions “immediately”. Otherwise Russia will “take measures to protect its national interests”.
In talk shows on Russian state television, participants in recent weeks have repeatedly called for the creation of a “corridor” between core Russia and the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad. That would mean an attack on the intermediate countries of Latvia and Lithuania.