The member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are bracing for increased tension after a Russian warning to Lithuania for enforcing European Union restrictions on specific commodities going to the Kaliningrad exclave – a part of Russia squeezed between Poland and Lithuania on the coast of the Baltic Sea, Newsweek has reported.
The Kremlin has threatened Lithuania with “serious consequences” if it imposes the European Union, or EU, import restrictions on some products, such as Russian steel and iron ore.
According to the post, Baltic diplomats have informed them that Moscow is “trolling” and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO, competitors and looking for flaws in the alliance’s coordinated front on Ukraine.
Some of the EU’s fourth round of sanctions, which included the restrictions, went into effect this past weekend as a reaction to Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
Between now and December, several dates have been set for the implementation of the restrictions on products including Russian coal, cement and liquor. The conflict over Kaliningrad, a region the size of Connecticut that relies heavily on overland routes from Russia through Lithuania, might potentially become worse, the post further said.
“The land transit between the Kaliningrad region and other parts of the Russian Federation has not been stopped or banned,” Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry said. “The transit of passengers and EU non-sanctioned goods continues without restrictions. The Republic of Lithuania is not applying any national unilateral restrictive measures in this regard.”
Given the sensitivity of the circumstance, one diplomatic representative from the Baltic states who did not want their name or nationality made public told Newsweek that the Russian response was not unexpected and that Moscow was overreacting.