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Russia urges Lithuania to stop blocking payments for transit to Kaliningrad — official

According to Sergey Ryabokon, the EU should play the key role in preventing such situations, since it is able to influence the decisions taken by the Lithuanian authorities

MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. Moscow urged Vilnius to stop creating obstacles to paying for transit to Kaliningrad, Russia's temporary Charge d'Affaires in Lithuania Sergey Ryabokon said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel.

When asked about the decision of the Lithuanian commercial bank Siauliu to cease operations with ruble payments for Kaliningrad freight transit through Lithuania, he responded, "We advised them then and today to act like grownups, not to do what they are doing now - create fabrications."

According to the diplomat, the decision to stop taking payments for transit in rubles comes from the Lithuanian government, not the management of Siauliu Bank, which he believes is unsure of what to do in this situation.

Ryabokon also added that the European Union should play the key role in preventing such situations, since it is able to influence the decisions taken by the Lithuanian authorities.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexey Isakov said earlier that the solutions regarding the transit of goods to Kaliningrad through the territory of Lithuania are temporary, the situation is still far from normal. "We can state that, while we avoided the worst-case scenario for the development of the situation surrounding the Kaliningrad freight transit, certain solutions with the EU and Lithuania were eventually established and are heading in the right direction as a result of our active diplomatic efforts. However, the solutions developed for freight rail transportation are only temporary; the situation is still far from normal," the diplomat said.

In addition, Isakov noted there are additional difficulties with payments for services of the Lithuanian side, as Siauliu Bank announced it was terminating servicing Russian counterparties from September 1.

Kaliningrad transit issue

In June, Lithuanian officials notified the administration of the Kaliningrad region that the country was halting the transit of goods on the EU sanctions list from the Russian Federation's main territory to the region via trucks and rail. These restrictions were deemed illegal by Russian officials. The European Commission stated in July that rail transit of goods to the Kaliningrad region should not be restricted as long as it is controlled during transportation. At the same time, restrictions on goods transit by road were maintained.

Following the restart of train traffic, the Lithuanian Siauliu Bank, which handled transit payments, said that, due to sanctions against Russia, it will cease all activities with Russian clients on September 1. The Kaliningrad region's officials said they were awaiting documentation from the Lithuanian side outlining the payment method, and that delays in transit payment were "imitating" implementation of the European Commission's decision by Lithuania.