There is enough capacity to transport cargo to Kaliningrad, said Anton Alikhanov, Governor of the Kaliningrad Region, commenting on restrictions on the transit of sanctioned Russian goods.
This requires subsidizing the maritime tariff, which Russia can well afford, said Alikhanov. According to him, the Europeans themselves are completely “confused” by their numerous anti-Russian sanctions. “Today's European bureaucracy is not inferior to the Soviet one, but even surpasses it, as the number of sanctions packages will soon definitely go by dozens,” said the Governor of the Kaliningrad Region.
Next week, the European Commission is expected to issue some clarifications on the possible removal of restrictions. Recall that on June 18, Lithuania imposed a ban on rail transportation of Russian goods subject to sanctions. The list included metal products, goods for the aerospace industry, cement, fertilizers, perfumes, household appliances over €750, musical instruments over €1500 and others. President Gitanas Nauseda of Lithuania said on June 25 that concessions to Russia in the matter of Kaliningrad transit “are impossible.” As explained in the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, all this is happening within the fourth package of sanctions of the European Union, which came into force on June 17, and with this decision Vilnius has limited the delivery of goods up to 50%.
Meanwhile, some Russian transport companies began to redirect their shipments of goods to sea routes, but it is quite difficult to reconstruct the existing flow in such a short time. Many ships have already gone to the road to transport products, but it was still not enough.
“The crisis related to Kaliningrad transit was unintentional,’ said Dmitry Suslov, deputy director of the Center for Complex European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics, “and the European Union hardly wanted to create a blockade of the Kaliningrad region, let alone exacerbate the situation, which hypothetically could have led to a direct military clash between Russia and NATO.”
According to Suslov, the statements coming from Brussels show that they simply did this unthinkingly. In his opinion, they adopted the sanctions documents in a hurry, and spelled out the rules there “somehow unclearly”.
However, Moscow called the restriction of Kaliningrad transit “unprecedented.” Russia took an absolutely tough stance and made it clear that it would take not only diplomatic, but also “practical” measures. It can be said that the European Union, has back-pedaled and has already begun to amend the documents. Now a corresponding draft has been sent to Lithuania. If the other members of the European Commission agree with it, it will be adopted within the next two weeks. So, it is time for the Europeans to try to think better of it.