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Kaliningrad will seek removal of all restrictions on transit through Lithuania — governor

"Today's decision is only the first step to remove the problem, a similar lifting of restrictions is required in terms of road transport," Anton Alikhanov noted

KALININGRAD, July 13. /TASS/. The authorities of the Kaliningrad region will seek the complete abolition of restrictions on the transit of goods from Russia to the region through Lithuania. Governor of the region Anton Alikhanov wrote this in his Telegram channel commenting on the explanations of the EU.

On Wednesday, the European Commission published guidelines for EU member states on the transit of goods from Russia. According to the document, the transit of prohibited goods by road, organized by Russian operators, is not allowed. No such prohibition exists for rail transport, apart from the obligation of EU member states to carry out the necessary controls on goods.

"The decision is only the first step to remove the problem, a similar lifting of restrictions is required in terms of road transport. I thank my colleagues from the Russian Foreign Ministry for this result. We will continue to achieve the complete removal of restrictions," Alikhanov wrote.

On June 18, Lithuania notified the Kaliningrad authorities of a ban on the rail transit of sanctioned goods to the Russian exclave. The prohibition was expanded to truck transit on June 21. The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin stated that Lithuania’s actions run counter to international agreements. Both Vilnius and the EU insist Lithuania did not impose any unilateral or additional sanctions, but has been consistently enforcing the EU’s sanctions regime.

According to the guidelines of the European Commission, rail transit of oil and oil products, coal, steel and iron, wood and cement and other non-military goods to Kaliningrad is not prohibited.

After the publication of the guidelines, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry reported that Vilnius positively assesses them, and noted that Lithuania will effectively ensure "the application of sanctions and will closely monitor, principally evaluate and effectively control whether Russia is trying to abuse transit opportunities."

The Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia would closely monitor the implementation of EU steps on the transit to Kaliningrad. She also called the decision of the European Commission a manifestation of "realistic approach and common sense", while noting that Russia still has questions about the content of the document.