Lithuania to toughen cargo checks from Russia due to attempts to “circumvent sanctions”

Those who have already tried to circumvent sanctions will be assessed by the Lithuanian customs as high-risk subjects and will be checked especially carefully – “under a magnifying glass”

Lithuanian customs has tightened inspection procedures to control the implementation of EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus. This was reported on the website of the service.

The customs service specified that for these purposes additional analytical resources will be used and physical control will be strengthened. The number of customs officers on inspection will also be increased, and, if necessary, employees of other state bodies of Lithuania will be involved.

Consignors, consignees, carriers or customs brokers who have already tried to circumvent sanctions will be assessed as high-risk entities and checked especially carefully.

“We see that attempts to circumvent sanctions are not decreasing, so we are taking additional measures. Those customs customers who have been denied further customs procedures because of attempts to circumvent sanctions should not be surprised if the goods they transport in the future will be under a magnifying glass, — Darius Zvironas, Director General of the Lithuanian Customs Department, said.

In July, the Lithuanian authorities, citing EU sanctions, restricted rail transit of sanctioned goods to the Kaliningrad region. Building materials, metal, wood, cement, fertilizers, alcohol and other goods were banned.

Russia called this decision unprecedented and illegal and promised retaliatory measures. After criticism from the Russian authorities, the European Commission clarified the sanctions. Thus, road transit to Kaliningrad remains banned, while rail transit is possible under “effective control”.

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According to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, the European Commission also introduced quotas for the transit of sanctioned goods. The head of the Kaliningrad region, Anton Alikhanov, said on August 9 that the region had exhausted quotas for some of the products.

In mid-August, on August 15, the Lithuanian Siauliai Bank, which made payments as part of the transit service to Kaliningrad, stopped accepting transactions in rubles. Moreover, the bank announced plans to stop making payments to Russia and Belarus in any currency from September.

The Kremlin expressed the hope that the problems that may arise during transit can be solve with dialogue. If Russia stumbles upon a “blank wall of misunderstanding”, “other measures” will be required, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted back in July.

Later, the authorities of the Kaliningrad region announced that the option of paying for the transit of goods to the region, alternative to the Lithuanian bank “Shaul”, found. However, they did not specify the details of the payment scheme.

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