MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. The solutions regarding the transit of goods to Kaliningrad through the territory of Lithuania are temporary, the situation is still far from normal, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexey Isakov said on Tuesday.
"Today, 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.
"At the same time, official Vilnius is actively promoting the notion that it apparently lacks the authority to influence and interfere in the decisions of its banking structures. Such attempts to hide behind arguments about bank independence do not hold up to scrutiny. While serving as Russia's ambassador to Lithuania, I witnessed how the country's authorities can very effectively showcase their ability to influence and persuade the country's banking structures," he added.
According to Isakov, Vilnius is now "artificially exacerbating the problems of financial services for transportation."
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.