I had the misfortune of stumbling upon a BBC news piece regarding Lithuanian’s illegal blockade of Kaliningrad. It went on for about five minutes, had plenty of footage of right-wing Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte blabbering on about how they’re just implementing EU sanctions, repeatedly, without the point being challenged. It also briefly mentioned how “Russia annexed Kaliningrad during World War 2”, I’ll ignore such a laughable simplification of history. Simonyte was quoted saying:
There’s no blockade of Kaliningrad. It’s just that since last weekend, sanctions have been into force on some of the goods included in the so-called sanctions package, namely steel and ferrous metals, and accordingly, railway customers or contracting parties have been informed about the application of these sanctions and that these goods cannot be loaded and transported.
Kaliningrad is part of Russian Federation sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. Thirty years ago, with both Russia and Lithuania leaving the USSR, a treaty was signed that guaranteed the Kaliningrad Oblast access to the rest of the Russian Federation through Lithuania. Goods were sealed and could not be unloaded within Lithuania, no documentation was required, the train enters Lithuania and leaves Lithuania with the same passengers and goods. Simple.
Now of course the western media are repeating the nonsense that the Lithuanian government is going on about having to implement EU sanctions - this is almost repeated ad-nauseum. It is utterly wrong. Here’s the EU document on the sanctions it implemented and the important bit:
The ban does not affect mail services and goods in transit between Kaliningrad Oblast and Russia.
Simple, yet not a single western news source I’ve viewed this evening mentions such a basic fact to challenge Lithuania’s narrative. Of course, the ban doesn’t affect any goods in transit - because they’re by definition not being imported or exported, they’re moving between one part of the Russian Federation and another.
Frankly in any other time the blockade would be viewed as an act of war, luckily for us the Russian government probably have more sense than to fall for a clear US-NATO provocation, as the US (and their satellites in eastern Europe) seem desperate to escalate the war with Russia and risk a nuclear holocaust.
Update (24th July)
Hidden away on the BBC News site yesterday was a small article that mentioned:
Lithuania has lifted a ban on the rail transport of sanctioned goods in and out of the Russian area of Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is on the Baltic Sea and uses a rail link to Russia via Lithuania for passengers and freight. Russia was enraged when Lithuania banned the transit of steel and other ferrous metals under EU sanctions last month, and threatened to respond. But now Lithuanian Railways says it will resume transporting goods to the exclave.
Guess it wasn’t about implementing EU sanctions was it? It was all about the government of Lithuania trying to garner support from some nationalists with some anti-Russian headlines as inflation rips through their country at over 20%. Sadly our media repeated it without any fact checking.