Putin threats mocked as Lithuania warns Russia actions on contested Kaliningrad ‘limited’

Russia actions on contested Kaliningrad 'limited' says Beniušis

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Lithuania banned the rail transfer of some goods between Russia and its Kaliningrad exclave as part of the European Union sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Following the move, Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergei Lavrov warned that Russia reserves the right to take action in order to protect its national interests. Lithuanian journalist and editor of BNS Lithuania Vaidotas Beniusis reacted to the threat and claimed the measures that the Kremlin can take in response to the move are “limited”. “There is concern, but no panic”, he stressed as he explains Lithuania is a “member of the NATO alliance” and the country “does not depend on Russian energy anymore”.

Mr Beniusis told Times Radio: “There is an increased level of concern here.

“On the other hand, there is no panic because still, the measures that Russia could take at this moment seem limited.

“Lithuania is a member of the NATO alliance.

“We can see that Russia is militarily struggling in Ukraine.

“Lithuania does not depend on Russian energy anymore.

“We will see how it goes.

“It’s always some concern when you hear threats from Russia.

“But we are quite used to that for many years, living nearby this neighbour.

“There is a clear understanding that Kaliningrad issues is a sensitive one for Russia and that there could be some response.

“Obviously, the Kremlin would like to show some sort of response to that.

“It’s clearly understood that this is a sensitive issue.

“What Lithuania is counting on is the support from the European Union as it is a European Union decision.

“Lithuania wants EU bodies, European Commission in Brussels would negotiate with Russia, not Lithuania itself as a country.

“That would not be a bilateral issue.

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“Lithuania of course is counting on the Americans and other NATO allies’ support, NATO’s five article commitments.

“There is concern, but there is no panic”.

The decision to ban the transit of some goods from Russia and Kaliningrad came as part of the EU sanctions imposed on Russia.

In light of the move, Secretary-General of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev defined Lithuania’s actions “hostile” and “in the violation of the international law”.

He warned: “Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions, and the consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania”.

Following the Russia threat, the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the move “is acting fully in accordance with EU laws” but stressed the blockage “has not imposed any unilateral and individual restrictions”.

Lithuania joined NATO alliance and the EU in 2004.

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