Moscow Threatens Lithuania for Rail Blockade
On Tuesday, June 20, 2022, Russia demanded Lithuania to lift their “illegal” rail blockade of goods being transported to Kaliningrad, a Russian province isolated from the main Russian borders by Lithuania and Poland.
Lithuania has shut down the railway for transport of coal, steel, and other ferrous metals from Russia to Kaliningrad under EU sanctions that took effect on Saturday.
Now, Moscow’s foreign ministry has stated, “Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interest.” What exactly does this mean? What actions will they take and when? And furthermore, what is the importance of Kaliningrad to Russia?
Kaliningrad is a Baltic seaport that is home to nearly a million Russians. It is connected to mainland Russia via a rail link through EU- and Nato- member Lithuania. Not only that, but it is also a key location in terms of national security for Russia. The Russian Baltic fleet has its headquarters located in Kaliningrad and nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles have been deployed there previously by Moscow.
Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, visited the enclave on Tuesday to chair a security meeting there. He stated Lithuania’s “hostile” actions towards Kaliningrad showed that Russia cannot trust the West, further claiming the West had broken written agreements over Kaliningrad. Russian officials are furious with Lithuania – and the EU – over the ban of their goods to Kaliningrad.
How will this impact the current supply chain?
As Lithuania is part of the EU, should Russia decide to take military action against Lithuania, the entirety of the EU could be involved in direct conflict with Russia. Should this happen, the entire supply chain of Europe will be disrupted, including food, raw materials, electronics goods, and retail products.
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