Political leaders in Moscow have reacted angrily to Lithuania’s restrictions on rail transit between Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and the Russian mainland. The “beginning blockade” of Kaliningrad violates international law, wrote the deputy head of the Russian Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, one of Russia’s leading foreign politicians, on Sunday night on his Telegram channel.

The Kaliningrad exclave around the former Königsberg lies between Lithuania and Poland. It is only about 500 kilometers from Berlin, but more than 1000 kilometers from Moscow.

“As a member of the EU, Lithuania violates a whole range of legally binding international legal acts within the framework of sanctions (national law), which affect not only the obligations of Lithuania itself, but also those of the EU as a whole,” Kosachev wrote. The partnership agreement between the EU and Russia stipulates that neither side will disrupt the transit of the other. If things continue like this, the West will probably soon question the freedom of the seas and block sea access to Kaliningrad, he suspected.

Lithuania has banned the rail transit of goods on Western sanctions lists via its territory to Kaliningrad since Saturday. According to the head of the Kaliningrad regional administration, Anton Alikhanov, this concerns 40 to 50 percent of all goods in transit, such as building materials and metals.