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Russia demands Lithuania immediately lift Kaliningrad transit ban

On Monday, Russia demanded that Lithuania immediately lift a ban on the transit of some goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

The Russian foreign ministry told the Lithuanian envoy in Moscow that if cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of Russia through Lithuania was not restored, Moscow would respond to protect its interests.

Lithuanian authorities banned the transit of goods which are sanctioned by the European Union across its territory, which includes the only rail route between mainland Russia and the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea.

The ban, which came into effect on Saturday, includes goods such as coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology. Governor of Kaliningrad, Anton Alikhanov said the ban would cover around 50 percent of the items that the region imports.

Alikhanov urged citizens not to panic buy, stating that two vessels were already ferrying goods between Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg, and seven more would be in service by the end of the year.

Sandwiched between EU and NATO members Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad receives supplies from Russia via rail and gas pipelines through Lithuania.

Home to the headquarters of Russia’s Baltic sea fleet, the enclave was captured from Nazi Germany by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union after World War Two.

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