Russia tells Lithuania: Your citizens will feel pain in Kaliningrad

  • Russia warns Lithuania about Kaliningrad
  • Russia summons the ambassador of the European Union
  • The European Union tells Russia: Refrain from ‘escalatory steps’
  • Lithuania: It is ironic to hear Russia moan about the law

LONDON (Reuters) – A senior ally of President Vladimir Putin told Lithuania on Tuesday that Moscow would respond to a European Union-imposed transit ban on Russia’s Kaliningrad region in a way that makes the Baltic country’s citizens more comfortable. He will feel pain.

With relations between Moscow and the West at their lowest level in half a century due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Lithuania has banned the transit of EU-imposed goods through its territory to and from the backwaters, citing EU sanctions rules.

Nikolai Patrushev, a former KGB spy and now secretary of the Russian Security Council, said Lithuania’s “hostile” actions showed Russia could not trust the West, which he said had violated written agreements on Kaliningrad.

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“Russia will certainly respond to such hostilities,” Patrushev was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying.

“Appropriate measures are being drawn up in an interdepartmental format and will be taken in the near future,” he was quoted as saying. “Its consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania.”

Lithuania, a member of NATO and the European Union, said it was simply applying agreed EU sanctions on Russia, adding that it was “paradoxical” to hear Moscow’s complaints about its war in Ukraine.

“No Siege”

“It is ironic to hear about alleged violations of international treaties from a country that has probably violated every single international treaty,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonet told reporters.

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“There is no siege on Kaliningrad,” Simonet said. Lithuania applies EU sanctions.”

Kaliningrad, formerly the port of Koenigsberg, the capital of East Prussia, was captured by the Red Army from Nazi Germany in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II. It is sandwiched between NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

After Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies imposed some of the toughest sanctions in modern history, a move the Kremlin has described as akin to declaring economic war.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the European Union ambassador to Moscow, Markus Eder, to file a formal complaint. Read more

“We demanded the immediate restoration of the normal Kaliningrad crossing. Otherwise, retaliatory measures will follow,” she added.

An EU spokesman said Eder urged Russia to refrain from “escalatory steps and rhetoric” about the situation.

“He conveyed our position on the Russian aggression against Ukraine and made it clear that Lithuania is implementing EU sanctions and there is no blockade, and demanded that it refrain from escalatory steps and escalatory rhetoric,” spokesman Peter Stano said in Brussels.

Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Kyiv and its Western backers say this is a false excuse to launch an unjustified war of aggression.

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Written by Guy Faulconbridge. Editing by Nick McPhee and Gareth Jones

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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