EU capitulates: Russia sanctions now mean nothing

The EU has capitulated, and Russia is now permitted to transit sanctioned goods through European Union nations as long as it is done by rail, the European Commission confirmed on Wednesday.

In June, Lithuania applied EU sanctions, which were imposed on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, to restrict the transit of certain Russian goods like coal, iron and steel to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is a piece of Russian-controlled territory sandwiched between the Baltic Sea and Lithuania and Poland, both of which are members of the EU and NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration sharply condemned the move, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov calling it "more than serious" and a "violation of everything," according to Reuters.

Putin ally Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, also warned of "serious consequences" as a result of the restrictions, the Guardian reported. This encouraged fears that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War could escalate dramatically, since the targeting of a NATO member state could force direct involvement from the military alliance.

Legal guidance issued by the European Commission on Wednesday specified that while "the transit of sanctioned goods by road with Russian operators is not allowed" under the EU's sanctions, "no such similar prohibition exists for rail transport." This means that Russia can, in fact, transit the sanctioned goods by rail to Kaliningrad through NATO members Lithuania and Poland.

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