First Russian transit train with sanctioned cargo arrives in Kaliningrad region - authorities
KALININGRAD. July 26 (Interfax) - The first train transporting sanctioned cargo whose transportation was prohibited by Lithuania earlier has arrived in the Kaliningrad region, Dmitry Lyskov, the press secretary for the Kaliningrad regional governor, told Interfax.
"It was the first train which delivered sanctioned goods, which were banned for transit to the Kaliningrad region by Lithuania and the European Union since June 17, to the region. But this ban was partially lifted on July 13 and transit itself was permitted since July 22. The train that arrived comprises 60 freight cars with cement," Lyskov said.
It is a milestone event for the Kaliningrad region, he said. This is why Governor Anton Alikhanov, who, in close cooperation with the federal authorities, took an active part in Russia's breaking through the partial blockade of the region by Lithuania and the EU, arrived at the station to welcome the first train carrying sanctioned cargo, he said.
Upon the arrival of the train, the regional governor said that "other sanctioned cargos must go in transit via Lithuania without hindrance now." "At the same time, the regional authorities will continue actively developing the sea line of cargo transit which is currently being successfully serviced by railway ferries and various bulk carriers," Lyskov said.
On June 17, Lithuania restricted the transit of steel, ferrous metals and other sanctioned goods to Russia's Kaliningrad region, as EU sanctions took effect, and said it was due to guidelines set by the European Commission.
In response, Moscow made a serious diplomatic effort to resolve this issue and said that it would prepare resolute economic measures in retaliation.
On July 13, the European Commission permitted Russia, though with certain reservations, to transport sanctioned goods by rail to and from the Kaliningrad region via EU territory.
The EU must take care to ensure that transit is not used to circumvent sanctions, the European Commission's document said. Transit of military and dual use goods and technology is still fully prohibited, regardless of the mode of transport.
Lithuanian officially permitted railway transit of sanctioned cargo to Kaliningrad since July 22. Transit of such cargoes by road transport is still banned.