Russian exclave responds to Baltic blockade
Governor of Russia’s Kaliningrad Region Anton Alikhanov has proposed a total ban on the movement of goods between Russia and the three Baltic states in response to what authorities in the exclave have called a “blockade” by Lithuania.
“As a reciprocal measure we propose to completely prohibit the movement of goods (including those in transit from third countries) between the three Baltic States and Russia,” Alikhanov said on Monday, adding that Kaliningrad Region would be exempted from the ban.
Lithuania on Monday expanded restrictions on trade through its territory to the exclave, as previously announced EU sanctions targeting Russia took effect. The list of barred goods includes concrete, wood, alcohol and alcohol-based industrial chemicals, according to a spokesperson for Lithuanian customs cited by Reuters.
Moscow has blasted the move, warning it could take “harsh measures” against Lithuania and the EU if transit does not resume “within the coming days.”
The Kremlin also announced on Monday that President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko had discussed “some possible joint steps” regarding the matter.
Some analysts have suggested that Lithuania’s move to block Russia’s access to its own territory could, to some extent, be considered a ‘casus belli’ – a cause for the declaration of war.
Last month, Vilnius banned the transit of some goods, including building materials, between Kaliningrad and mainland Russia, citing EU sanctions imposed over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
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