Lithuania says sanctions on goods bound for Kaliningrad are in effect

VILNIUS (Reuters) – A ban on transit of goods subject to European Union sanctions through its territory to Russia’s Kaliningrad region will come into effect from Saturday, the Lithuanian authorities said.

The news of the ban came, Friday, via a video clip broadcast by the region’s governor, Anton Alikhanov. Read more

The EU sanctions list includes in particular coal, minerals, building materials and advanced technology, and Alikhanov said the ban would cover about 50% of the materials imported by Kaliningrad.

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Its immediate start was confirmed by the freight arm of Lithuania’s state railways service in a letter to customers after a “clarification” from the European Commission on the mechanism for applying sanctions.

Alekhanov, urging citizens not to resort to panic buying, said that two ships are already transporting goods between Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg, and seven more will be in service by the end of the year.

“Our ferries will carry all the goods,” he said on Saturday.

A spokesman for the Lithuanian railways service confirmed the contents of the letter but declined to comment further. The State Department did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adominas told public television that his institution was awaiting “clarification from the European Commission on the application of European sanctions on the transit of goods in Kaliningrad”.

Kaliningrad is located between Poland and Lithuania, which are members of the European Union and NATO, and receives supplies from Russia via railways and gas pipelines through Lithuania.

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Home to the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet, the enclave was captured from Nazi Germany by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II.

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Additional reporting by Andrios Setas in Vilnius; Additional reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels; Editing by John Stonestreet and Christina Fincher

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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