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Berlin and Brussels push for end to Kaliningrad transit sanctions
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Berlin and Brussels push for end to Kaliningrad transit sanctions 

Berlin and Brussels are pushing Lithuania to end sanctions on Kaliningrad transit, according to sources quoted by the Spiegel magazine in Germany. 

According to Spiegel, Berlin is worried Russia might resort to military action, drawing the German soldiers currently stationed in Lithuania into a conflict.

Earlier this month, Lithuania banned sanctioned goods from transiting its territory between the Russian mainland and its exclave of Kaliningrad, wedged between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea. Moscow then threatened a “non-diplomatic” response, with Lithuania coming under cyber attacks days later.

Read more: Lithuania and Kaliningrad – updates

Sources quoted by Spiegel say Germany and the EU sees the transit as being between “Russia and Russia”. The EU is now seeking to update its guidelines that would see the transit exemption, but wants to avoid embarrassing Lithuania, according to Spiegel.

During a press conference in Madrid on Thursday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also urged deescalation.

“These [rules] must always be set in the light of the fact that we are dealing here with traffic between two parts of Russia,” he said. “”I believe that all parties involved are currently making great efforts to establish a de-escalation dynamic here.”

Vilnius officials maintain the sanctions were coordinated with Brussels in advance and the country is merely imposing EU sanctions. Any exemptions would send a wrong signal to Russia, they say, and would lead to more coercive behaviour by the Kremlin.

Read more: EU moves to exempt Kaliningrad transit from sanctions – Reuters

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