EU member reinstates commodities transit under sanctions

The action follows EU clarifications regarding rail supplies to Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave.

As of July 22, Lithuanian Railways resumed transporting commodities that were subject to sanctions from Russia to its exclave of Kaliningrad, a spokesman for LTG Cargo, the company's freight division, said on LRT TV on Friday.

Customers are informed that shipping is already available as a result of [EU] clarifications that we have received. Some things may be transported today if customers arrive in time to transfer [the cargo] today, according to Dubauskas, as quoted by TASS.

On June 18, Lithuanian Railways halted the transit of many items that were subject to EU sanctions to Kaliningrad. Accusing Lithuania of provocative behavior, Russia called EU Ambassador Markus Ederer to the Foreign Ministry. Moscow requested that the transport be restarted right away or else it would take punitive action. The Lithuanian government asserted that they were merely following EU penalties and denied breaking the terms of the transit arrangement.

The transit of goods from other Russian cities to Kaliningrad by rail would be permitted, but subject to cargo control – the transportation of goods should not exceed the volumes shipped to the region on average over the past three years. This was made clear in an "additional guidance on the transit of goods from Russia" that the European Commission released on July 13.

Only road transportation of Russian cargo subject to sanctions is still forbidden. However, "regardless of the mode of conveyance," the transit of authorized military and dual-use commodities remains completely forbidden.

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