Kallas: EU, Lithuania reached agreement on Kaliningrad sanctions
The European Commission and Lithuania have reached an agreement on the implementation of transit sanctions related to Kaliningrad, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Thursday.
"The European Commission and Lithuania have reached an agreement on the guidelines for the implementation of sanctions. We have always been in contact with the Lithuanians [on this issue] and supported them in all steps relating to the implement of these sanctions," Kallas said at the government's weekly press conference.
The new rules say the transit of sanctioned goods is prohibited by road but not essential goods by rail, she said.
"The Lithuanians have confirmed that they plan to very closely monitor that only essential goods are there. And we will definitely support them in this," said Kallas.
The prime minister said it is not worth looking for people to blame in this situation.
"This is a very extraordinary situation where Kaliningrad is located next to Lithuania and is far from its Motherland. Confusion has arisen, but I think that there is no point in looking for divisions and making them bigger," added Kallas.
The prime minister's opinion differs from the Chairman of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) who belives transit should have been suspended between Kaliningrad and mainland Russia.
"What this really means is that the European Union has sent a signal that it is willing to make exceptions in Russia sanctions. I find it to be an extremely unfortunate signal," he said on Wednesday.
The Commission issued the new guidelines on Wednesday.
Brussels provided the additional guidelines after Lithuania began banning the transit of EU-sanctioned goods, such as steel and other metals, by rail to Kaliningrad in June. Moscow threatened to retaliate.
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Editor: Helen Wright