Lithuania Ends Transit of Goods to Kaliningrad, Russia

Dr. E.C. Beuck

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Lithuania has announced that it will be blocking the transit of imports and exports by rail to and from Kaliningrad as a result of Western sanctions. Located between Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad relies in large part on goods and supplies being shipped in via rail from Russia. Home to the Russian Baltic Fleet, as well as a deployment location for nuclear-capable Iskander missiles, the Lithuania ban significantly undercuts the ability of Russia to supply the exclave.

That being said, while Governor Anton Alikhanov has acknowledged that the ban will impact between 40% and 50% of the goods being imported and exported to Russia through Lithuanian territory, he has said that authorities would call for the measures to be lifted as they violate the right to free transit into and out of the Kaliningrad exclave.

Goods effected by the ban according to the EU sanctions list will include advanced technology, metals, coal, and construction materials. Governor Alikhanov has called on the Kaliningrad population to resist panic buying, and presented assurances that beyond the two vessels already ferrying goods between Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg, there will be seven more placed into service by the end of the year to deal with Lithuanian ban.

Despite signals that Kaliningrad would push for the ban to end, the fact that Lithuania had previously closed its airspace to any flights from Russia to Kaliningrad this past February in response to the invasion of Ukraine, indicates that this might be an effort doomed to fail. Perhaps recognizing this, Governor Alikhanov has also said that he will call for Russian federal authorities to respond to Lithuania’s ban with tit-for-tat measures of their own.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC
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