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Russia threatens to retaliate as Lithuania bans rail transit to Kaliningrad

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia yesterday demanded the immediate lifting of Lithuania’s “openly hostile” restrictions on the rail transit of European Union (EU)-sanctioned goods to Moscow’s exclave of Kaliningrad that borders Lithuania and Poland.

Moscow accused the Baltic nation of banning the rail transit of goods subject to sanctions imposed by the EU over Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday that it had summoned Lithuania’s charge d’affaires in Moscow to protest the “provocative” and “openly hostile” measures.

“If in the near future cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the territory of the Russian Federation through Lithuania is not restored in full, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the transit ban violates a 2002 Russia-EU agreement.