Lithuania brings in tougher restrictions on Kaliningrad trade

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Lithuania has toughened its restrictions on the flow of trade through its territory to Kaliningrad, with concrete, wood and alcohol among the goods now prohibited.


Lithuania has introduced tougher curbs on trade through its territory to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, despite threats from Moscow of retaliatory measures.

As part of European Union sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, goods added to the list of restricted items from Monday July 11th include concrete, wood, alcohol and alcohol-based industrial chemicals.

Russia has warned against such moves. Last week, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said: "If the situation does not stabilize in the coming days, then Russia will take harsh measures against Lithuania and the European Union. The issue has taken too long to resolve."

The regional governor of Kaliningrad also responded by urging a total ban on the overland movement of goods between Russia and the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. 

Anton Alikhanov said on Telegram that such a move would provide more work for maritime carriers and ports in Kaliningrad, which have been severely impacted by EU sanctions.

Reuters reported that the isolation of Kaliningrad, which has borders with Lithuania and Poland, has divided opinion within the EU, with some nations worried about the possibility of Russia continuing to cut off gas supplies in response. 

Last month, efforts were made to bring in a compromise to resolve the standoff, with the backing of Germany. However, Lithuania is said to have serious concerns about making any concessions to Moscow.

Freight restrictions between Russia and Kaliningrad, which gets most of its goods via road and rail through Lithuania, have been in place since June 17th. There are exceptions for goods classified as essential or humanitarian, such as food, but passenger traffic is not banned and the exclave can still be reached by air or sea.