Seemingly, the European Union will implement the long-awaited agreements with Russia on the transit of cargo through Kaliningrad. Brussels has provided a document stating that it is impossible to limit the movement of cargo between parts of the Russian Federation.
All goods going to the Kaliningrad region will now be removed from the sanctions list “as an exception.” This will affect both road and rail transit. These exceptions will be spelled out in a separate clause in the sanctions anti-Russian package, adopted in July.
Dmitry Lyskov, head of the press service of the government of the Kaliningrad region, reported that “there are no official statements of the Russian or European sides in the regional government at the moment.”
It should be recalled that on June 18, Lithuania restricted the transit of a number of Russian goods to Kaliningrad through its territory on the grounds that they were under EU sanctions. According to data published by the Lithuanian Railways company, goods under sanctions account for 15% of all cargoes transported from Russia to the Kaliningrad region by rail. Moscow, in turn, stated that this incident will not go without retaliation.
Moreover, Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova underlined that “There's a limit to Russia's patience,” and if Vilnius does not lift the restrictions, Moscow will give an “adequate” response.
It seems that Zakharova's statement frightened the leaders of some European countries, who even suggested that Russia could not rule out “the heavy-handed option” for solving the problem.
Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Kaliningrad region, suggested as a counter measure to completely prohibit the movement of goods even from third countries between the three Baltic republics and Russia.
“This will allow to load sea carriers and give work to Kaliningrad ports, which were greatly affected by restrictions on the part of the European Union,” said Alikhanov. “At the same time, it is necessary to set the level of maritime transport tariff at the level of railway tariff, according to the price list 10-01.”
However, some experts believe that the idea of Lithuania to block Kaliningrad is “not independent,” and, most likely, the UK is behind it, which just needs to drive “additional wedges” between Russia and the EU against the background of the starting processes of peaceful settlement of the situation in Ukraine. By the way, Brussels and Vilnius have been negotiating the final version of the agreement on limitation of Kaliningrad transit for some weeks, but it is Lithuania that does not want to make concessions and is currently considering this question.
Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin said that he “hopes very much” that the partners from the European Union will be reasonable. He believes that “common sense will prevail after all” and normal “civilized practice” will be restored, which existed before.
“Otherwise, they will drive the whole situation into a very dangerous dead end,” Karasin said in conclusion.