Monday, August 15

Brussels says Lithuania must allow rail transit of Russian goods to Kaliningrad

The European Commission published this Wednesday some guidelines on the transit of goods from Russia. And it has concluded, in relation to the conflict in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, that Lithuania must allow rail transit of goods. In other words, communication by train is excluded from the sanctions against the Kremlin for the invasion of Ukraine. “There can be no road transit of sanctioned goods”, says Brussels: “Goods, including sanctioned goods (but not military or dual-use goods), can be moved by rail, subject to controls by national authorities to ensure trading volumes are in line with historical averages.”

In other words, iron, steel, cement, wood, coal and oil products cannot be transported by road, but they can be transported by rail, as long as they are within the average flow of the last three years.

“This guide confirms that the EU measures do not allow the transit of sanctioned goods by road with Russian operators,” says Brussels, which clarifies: “There is no similar prohibition for rail transport, without prejudice to the obligation of the Member States to carry out effective controls.

Thus, the European Commission says that “Member States will check if the volumes in transit are within the averages of the last three years, to reflect the real demand for essential goods at the destination, and if there are no unusual trade flows or patterns that could give rise to circumvention.

“The transit of sanctioned military and dual-use goods and technology is totally prohibited in any case, regardless of the mode of transport,” says Brussels.

The objective of the communication from Brussels on Wednesday “is to specify the applicable rules and to recall that Member States are obliged to prevent all possible forms of circumvention of EU sanctions.”

In this sense, the European Commission “underlines the importance of controlling trade flows between Russia and the enclave of Kaliningrad to ensure that sanctioned goods cannot enter the customs territory of the EU. The Member States are responsible for the application of the sanctions. To ensure that they are applied as efficiently and consistently as possible, the Commission provides regular administrative guidance to Member State authorities and other stakeholders, through the exchange of information and improvements.