Lithuanian president says country is prepared for any ‘unfriendly actions’ by Russia

A Russian railway locomotive moves past freight train wagons at the border railway station in Kybartai, Lithuania, on June 21.
A Russian railway locomotive moves past freight train wagons at the border railway station in Kybartai, Lithuania, on June 21. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

The Kremlin has said Lithuania’s transit ban on European Union-sanctioned goods to Russia through Kaliningrad — Russia’s exclave in the EU — is “unacceptable.”

Moscow is considering measures in response to Vilnius’s “unfriendly steps,” according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

“We are convinced that the sanctions adopted by the EU are absolutely unacceptable. Applying these sanctions regarding transit to Kaliningrad and back simply contradicts fundamental agreements,” Peskov said Wednesday, adding that retaliatory measures are being discussed.

Peskov refused to elaborate what those measures could entail and said there was no exact timeline for Moscow’s response, but that it will announce them when they are ready.

“(Response) measures are being prepared. After we carefully weigh everything, we will talk about it,” he said.

Some background: Russia has reacted furiously after Lithuania prohibited the passage of sanctioned goods across its territory into Kaliningrad last week.

Peskov said the move was “unprecedented” on Monday. “We also consider it illegal,” he said, adding that the Kremlin will need to analyze the situation carefully. “It is part of a blockade, of course,” he said.

However, Lithuania said it is merely upholding European Union sanctions and the European bloc has backed the country’s decision.

The row threatens to escalate tensions between Moscow and the EU, which has unveiled several packages of sanctions on Russian goods — including last month agreeing to ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.

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