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Russia condemns Lithuania transit ban on some goods to Kaliningrad

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theguardian.com

Russia has condemned a ban imposed by Lithuania on the transit of some goods across its territory to its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, as Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said Moscow would defend its interests.There was panic buying in Kaliningrad over the weekend after authorities in the Russian region claimed Lithuania was preparing to close off the rail and gas pipe links that supply the area.Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, further escalated tensions on Monday by threatening a response to what he said was an “illegal move”.He said: “This decision is really unprecedented.

It’s a violation of everything. We consider this illegal. The situation is more than serious… we need a serious in-depth analysis in order to work out our response.”Wedged between Lithuania to its north and east, and Poland to its south, Kaliningrad is about 800 miles (1,300km) from Moscow and relies on much of its supplies coming in by rail.Russia’s foreign ministry said Vilnius must reverse the “openly hostile” move.“If cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation via Lithuania is not fully restored in the near future, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests,” it said.Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, said ahead of a meeting in Brussels that Moscow was spreading false information and that the state railways service was only enacting the EU’s sanctions regime prohibiting the supply of steel or goods made from iron ore to Russia.Landsbergis said that under half of the goods usually supplied by transiting across Lithuania would be covered by the sanctions regime over time, with the ban on steel coming into force on 17 June.“I think there was some

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