Last week Lithuania announced that it would ban the rail transit of goods subject to European sanctions through its territory to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned the head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Russia Markus Ederer to protest against the restrictions on cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian territory.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry informed Ederer about the "inadmissibility of such actions" and their consequences, adding that such actions violate the EU legal and political obligations and will lead to an escalation of tensions.
Russia demanded the restrictions be lifted immediately, saying retaliation would follow if cargo transit was not restored. Last week, Lithuania announced that it would ban the rail transit of goods subject to European sanctions through its territory to Kaliningrad.
On Monday, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned the Lithuania's Charge d Affaires Virginija Umbrasene and demanded the restrictions be immediately lifted, calling them "provocative" and "openly hostile.
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"If the transit of goods between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of Russia through Lithuania is not fully restored, Russia reserves the right to take action to protect its national interests," the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said after summoning Umbrasene, as reported by PoandPo Magazine.
Kaliningrad, which is a Russian territory of 15,100 km² that borders Poland and Lithuania, is located at the mouth of the Pregel River, which flows into the Vistula Lake, which in turn communicates with the Baltic Sea through the Baltiysk Strait. Although Kaliningrad does not have borders with Russia, it is economically important since it is the only ice-free port on the Baltic Sea throughout the year.
Besides having this competitive advantage, this enclave is geopolitically essential for Russia due to its strategic depth given that "it hosts the country's Baltic fleet and is positioned as the westernmost territory of Moscow, close to the heart of Europe," as TRT World recalls .