EU: Russia can transit sanctioned goods to Kaliningrad only by rail

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Sanctions are among the EU’s most visible, direct and powerful responses to Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, including systemic violence and atrocities against the civilian population. The EU’s six packages of sanctions are unprecedented and designed to increase economic pressure on Russia and undermine its ability to wage its war on Ukraine. They are coordinated with international partners.

Member States are responsible for the implementation of sanctions. To ensure that they are implemented as effectively and consistently as possible, the Commission provides regular administrative guidance to Member State authorities and other stakeholders, including by sharing information and best practices. It stands ready to provide further guidance, as necessary.

The EU stands united in solidarity with Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine and its people together with its international partners, including through additional political, financial and humanitarian support.

The transit of sanctioned goods from Russia

The European Commission has today published further guidance to Member States on the transit of goods from Russia. This is part of regular technical exchanges on the practical implementation of EU restrictive measures, which have been unanimously imposed by the European Council, in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

This guidance confirms that the transit of sanctioned goods by road with Russian operators is not allowed under the EU measures. No such similar prohibition exists for rail transport, without prejudice to Member States’ obligation to perform effective controls. Member States shall check whether transit volumes remain within the historical averages of the last 3 years, in particular reflecting the real demand for essential goods at the destination, and that there are no unusual flows or trade patterns that could give rise to circumvention. The transit of sanctioned military and dual use goods and technology is fully prohibited in any event – regardless of the mode of transport.

The purpose of today’s text is to specify the applicable rules and recall that Member States are obliged to prevent all possible forms of circumvention of EU restrictive measures. In that light, the Commission underlines the importance of monitoring the two-way trade flows between Russia and Kaliningrad Oblast to ensure that sanctioned goods cannot enter the EU customs territory.

U.S. welcome EU Sanctions on Russia and Shipments To and From Kaliningrad

In a press statement, Ned Price, Department Spokesperson, said the U.S. welcomes the announcement of EC’s additional guidance.

“We welcome the announcement by the EU making clear how its member states will implement economic sanctions on Russia with respect to Kaliningrad. We appreciate the unprecedented economic measures that our Allies and partners, including Lithuania, have joined us in taking against Russia for its unprovoked war against Ukraine.

“We applaud European Union member states, including Lithuania, for enforcing sanctions measures fully in accordance with EU guidance.

“It is important to note that there is not now and there never has been a so-called “blockade” of Kaliningrad. Using a variety of routes, passengers continue to transit between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad, as do all humanitarian shipments and most other goods. We should also not forget why economic sanctions were put into place, which was in response to Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war in Ukraine.”

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