Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Lithuania will follow the European Commission’s advice and allow transit of Russian goods to Kaliningrad.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania stressed on Wednesday that the country will make an exemption for transit of sanctioned goods to the Russian exclave, according to Reuters reporting.
The EC noted that the move will defuse tensions between Russia and the bloc by making sure that Kaliningrad is not cut off, reminding that the exclave depends on transport of goods from Russia through Lithuania.
EU sources noted last month that the Commission was negotiating with Lithuania on an exemption of Kaliningrad from sanctions against Russia, stressing that talks would open doors to an agreement this month if Vilnius changes its position.
According to the European Commission’s guidance released on Wednesday, EU member states should not apply sanctions to transit of goods between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad as long as volumes do not exceed three-year averages.
The body called on EU member states to keep a close eye on trade between Russia and Kaliningrad, stressing the importance of checking for circumvention of sanctions and making sure there are “no unusual flows or trade patterns.”
Transit of some goods still banned
It pointed out that transit of military and dual use technology and goods remains banned.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in a statement on Wednesday that the rules previously in place were “more acceptable,” pointing out that they blocked more cargo transit.
“Kaliningrad transit rules may create an unjustified impression that the transatlantic community is softening its position and sanctions policy towards Russia,” the ministry stressed.
Earlier on Wednesday, Moscow expressed hope that transport of some goods will be allowed and added that it wants to resolve the issue.
Russia previously described the ban on transit of goods to the exclave as an illegal blockade.
The EC stressed that sanctions did not target transit of goods in humanitarian and essential categories, adding that the exclave can still be reached by sea or air and noting that passenger traffic is allowed.Kaliningrad is connected to mainland Russia by land only through Lithuania and Belarus.