‘We are not provoking Russia, Russia provokes the world’: Lithuanian MP

TVP World invited Matas Maldeikis, Lithuanian MP, to talk about the tense situation between Lithuania and the EU following the country’s implementation of the bloc’s sanctions against Russia.

Lithuania introduced EU sanctions banning the transit of certain goods between Russia and its Kaliningrad exclave through Lithuanian territory. Mr Maldeikis believes that implementing the sanctions was an obvious decision. What is more, Vilnius requested clarification from Brussels as to how the sanctions should work. He is therefore puzzled, as is the Lithuanian government and many Lithuanian people, why is the EU now talking about lifting some of the sanctions.

What is important, the sanctions do not affect passenger transit and only affect 1 percent of goods that are transported by Russia through Lithuania. The next package of sanctions will be much more comprehensive. But Russia is making a big deal out of the sanctions: the Kremlin is trying to use threats to break up European unity. Mr Maldeikis believes that stepping back would send Russia the message that it can achieve its goals with threats, and would also send a very bad message to Ukraine.

Mr Maldeikis also spoke of behind-the-scene dealings in Brussels, who else is supporting Lithuania in their decision to enforce the sanctions, sanctions against Belarus, and whether Lithuanians are afraid of Russian threats.