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Lithuania will allow sanctioned Russian goods trade to Kaliningrad

A perspective demonstrates freight vehicles, following Lithuania’s ban of the transit of goods underneath EU sanctions via the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, in Kaliningrad, Russia June 21, 2022. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar/File Image

VILNIUS, July 13 (Reuters) – European Union member Lithuania will permit sanctioned Russian items to transit its territory on their way to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, its Overseas Ministry mentioned on Wednesday, reversing its plan soon after new European Fee pointers.

The new guidelines on Wednesday followed months of tension among Moscow, Lithuania and the European Union that tested Europe’s resolve to enforce sanctions on Russia.

Kaliningrad, which is bordered by EU states and depends on railways and roadways by way of Lithuania for most goods, has experienced some freight transportation from mainland Russia reduce off given that June 17 less than sanctions imposed by Brussels.

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The sanctions ended up developed to bar entry into the EU of particular Russian products and solutions, these as vodka and metal.

Moscow before explained limiting overland transit of items from Russia to Kaliningrad amounted to an illegal blockade Lithuania stated it experienced no choice but to implement policies imposed by Brussels.

“This final decision, which removes restrictions on a sure array of solutions transported by rail, is a demonstration of realism and frequent perception,” a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson reported by e mail on Wednesday. “Although we still have queries about the contents of this document.”

Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov wrote on Telegram the new rules are “only the initially phase required” to address the stand-off: “We will go on to operate in direction of the complete elimination of restrictions”.

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The direction revealed on Wednesday claimed the trade sanctions should not utilize to transport in between Russia and its exclave, so prolonged as volumes do not exceed their averages about the past a few years, reflecting “the serious demand from customers for necessary merchandise at the desired destination”. study additional

Even with expressing it would observe the rules, Lithuania’s International Ministry mentioned in a assertion the earlier policies that blocked lots of sanctioned cargos from transportation to Kaliningrad ended up “more appropriate”.

“Kaliningrad transit principles might create an unjustified impression that the transatlantic group is softening its situation and sanctions coverage in direction of Russia”, the assertion reported.

EU customers have been tasked with checking trade in between Russia and Kaliningrad to check out for sanction circumventions, this kind of as earning confident there are “no uncommon flows or trade styles”.

The transit of sanctioned armed service and twin use merchandise and technological innovation remains entirely prohibited.

Kaliningrad, which involves a Baltic port and is home to all over 1 million people today, was annexed by the Soviet Union from Germany after Entire world War Two and is related to the relaxation of Russia only as a result of EU territory, predominantly rail by using Belarus as a result of Lithuania.

Goods that tumble within just humanitarian or critical categories, these kinds of as food stuff, have been always exempted from the sanctions. Passenger targeted traffic is not banned and Kaliningrad can nevertheless be reached by air or sea.

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Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, Modifying by William Maclean and Cynthia Osterman

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Believe in Concepts.