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Lithuania's European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius on Tuesday criticized the country for its failure to properly prepare its strategic communication to respond to Russia's threats over the restriction of the transit of some goods to the Kaliningrad region.
Virginijus Sinkevičius
Virginijus Sinkevičius
© AP / Scanpix

He says Russia's rhetoric could have been foreseen as transit to Kaliningrad is a sensitive issue for Moscow and Lithuania is aware of that.

"I have no doubt that they (Russia - BNS) had already prepared the narrative of what they would do in advance, that they would spread panic here. (...) That's probably what I dislike the most, that we hadn't put together that line of communication, maybe also involving the Commission. Lithuania is aware of the sensitivities involving the Kaliningrad transit, and it knows how important this issue is. So, perhaps more work could have been done here," the Lithuanian member of the European Commission told reporters in Brussels.

"I believe we should have been prepared for such an attack from Russia and for the spread of disinformation and lies," he added.

The commissioner says the Commission's ready to fully support Lithuania and other EU member states in the implementation of the existing sanctions.

"The Commission will fully support Lithuania and all member states in the implementation of the sanctions. As I said, the six sanction packages have been adopted so far and it is now very important to focus on the implementation of the sanctions", said the Lithuanian commissioner in charge of the environment, oceans and fisheries.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, earlier warned Lithuania of "serious consequences" if it banned the transit of some goods by rail to the Russian region of Kaliningrad. He added that "appropriate measures are being prepared" and "will be taken in the near future".

For its part, Vilnius insisted it had not imposed unilateral restrictions, stressing that they were part of the EU sanctions imposed as a result of the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.

Sinkevicius also reiterated once again that Lithuania is implementing the fourth EU sanction package for Russia.

"What is happening with the Kaliningrad transit is happening because Russia attacked Ukraine, and there was no and there would have been no other reason for it," the commissioner said.

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The BNS journalist's travel expenses to Brussels were covered by the European Parliament. This does not affect the content of the report.

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