Moscow fumes over EU blockade of Kaliningrad

STORY: Russia summoned the European Union’s ambassador in Moscow on Tuesday (June 21) fuming over what it calls an illegal rail blockade of a Russian outpost on the Baltic Sea.

It comes as a row over a ban on goods transiting between enclave Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia intensifies.

In recent days, EU and NATO member Lithuania has shut the transit route for basic goods to and from Kaliningrad - including construction materials, metals and coal - through its territory.

It includes the only rail route between mainland Russia and its Baltic Sea outpost, Kaliningrad.

Lithuania says it is required to do this under EU sanctions that took effect on Saturday.

Kaliningrad’s governor Anton Alikhanov said the ban covers around 50 percent of the items the enclave imports.

Russia describes the move as “openly hostile” and an "illegal blockade".

And has threatened to retaliate with undisclosed measures if the ban isn’t immediately reversed.

One of President Vladimir Putin’s top allies issued a warning to Lithuania on Tuesday, saying Russia would respond in such a way that citizens of NATO and the EU would feel the pain.

Nikolai Patrushev - the secretary of Russia’s Security Council - was quoted by Russian state news agency RIA as saying Lithuania’s actions showed Russia could not trust the West.

Adding that “appropriate measures” were being worked out and would be taken in the near future.

Lithuania and Brussels say EU sanctions have obliged it to enforce the ban.

Speaking after EU envoy Markus Ederer appeared at the Russian foreign ministry, an EU spokesperson said that Ederer had explained that Lithuania is implementing European Union sanctions and that there is no blockade.

As well as asking Russia to "refrain from escalatory steps and rhetoric."

Kaliningrad's residents have been urged not to panic buy.

But many said they were starting to worry.

"Construction works will stop. Development of roads. It's all only going to get worse.”

"I think we should pack our belongings and leave. Because you can't go anywhere. This has never happened."

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