Lithuania bans passenger drop-offs to and from Russia’s Kaliningrad — RT World News

Vilnius claimed that having too many entry points for Russians endangered national security

Train passengers crossing between Belarus and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad can no longer board or disembark in Lithuania, under new border rules that took effect on Friday.

The restriction applies to two checkpoints located in Kipartai, a town on the border with Kaliningrad in western Lithuania, and at the Kina station in the town of Kalvelyai near the Belarusian border in the east. Previously, people who held citizenship or a residence permit in an EU country could cross into the Schengen Area via these routes.

Vilnius announced the restriction last week, at the request of the National Security Committee, and Interior Minister Anni Bilotait described it as… “Timely and necessary” Measures to ensure national security.

The government noted that unlike other EU members who have only one border crossing with Belarus, Lithuania has four. The statement added that it has become necessary to reduce the number to stop the flow of people and goods.

Eastern EU countries have been steadily restricting cross-border traffic with Russia and Belarus since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. The policy has been justified by security concerns, but many officials have explicitly said they want to punish Russian and Belarusian citizens for their governments' actions.

The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), a Washington-based think tank known to be funded by the US government, NATO and Western arms makers, warned in January that He added: “The threat posed by Russian agents or military personnel who use the railways as a back door to the West should not be underestimated.” In reference to the two checkpoints in Lithuania.

“Failure to abuse the line threatens to undermine attempts to strengthen Lithuania’s security, and could put Lithuania and NATO in a position where they would have to respond to any hybrid attack.” As the lobby group claimed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the move last week, telling the Izvestia newspaper that in a statement “Anti-Russian impulse, Lithuanians do not think about the interests of their fellow citizens.”

Vilnius urged Lithuanian citizens to avoid traveling to Russia and Belarus, and called on those already in those countries to return.

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