EU may lift blockade of Russian exclave – media
The EU is in talks with Lithuania on lifting sanctions on the transit of goods to Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad, the newspaper Izvestia reported on Wednesday, citing two unnamed Russian officials.
The officials told the news outlet that the EU had sent a draft document to Moscow in early July outlining that the transit of goods by both rail and road from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad would be removed from sanctions. However, the sources said that Vilnius, which previously blocked shipments of goods to the region via Lithuania’s territory in order to comply with sanctions, has not yet agreed to finalize the document.
“Lithuania does not want to agree to the compromise proposed by the EU. In many ways, the position of Vilnius is determined by the US, which puts pressure on it. The issue is now under consideration of the Lithuanian side,” one of the sources told Izvestia.
Meanwhile, the second source told the news outlet that the carve-out for the transport of goods to Kaliningrad via Lithuania may be included in the next EU sanctions package, which is set to be adopted later this month.
Both officials said that the draft document provided by Brussels “completely satisfied” Moscow.
Lithuania blocked the transit of goods by rail to Kaliningrad through its territory on June 18, with the restrictions affecting about 30% of deliveries to the Russian region. Moscow called the measures unprecedented and illegal, as they affect Russia’s access to a part of its own territory. Germany then asked the European Commission to make an exception for Kaliningrad in order to avoid an escalation, Der Spiegel reported, citing sources.
Meanwhile, Kaliningrad authorities have not yet received any official notification on the lifting of transit restrictions through Lithuania to the region, TASS reported on Wednesday, citing the press service of the regional government.
Later on Wednesday, the European Commission denied reports it had reached an agreement with Russia regarding Kaliningrad.
“There have been no negotiations between the EU and Russia on the issue you are talking about, contrary to the reports you cite,” EC spokesman Eric Mamer told RIA Novosti.
Prior to that, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said the situation has not yet been finalized, but noted that Moscow is expecting progress in the near future, without providing details.
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