Report: EU in Talks on Kaliningrad Compromise That Could Defuse Tensions With Russia

Sources told Reuters a deal could be reached soon

Reuters reported on Wednesday that European officials are in talks on a possible compromise on goods traveling to Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland.

Lithuania has stopped allowing goods sanctioned by the EU to travel through its territory, and Russia has vowed it would respond if the move isn’t reversed. Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters that European officials are discussing exempting Kaliningrad from sanctions and that a deal could reached as soon as next week.

The compromise could be made on the grounds that goods being shipped to Kaliningrad do not count as normal international trade since the territory is part of Russia. But the report said the compromise would be made only on the condition that the sanctioned goods aren’t shipped out of Kaliningrad’s Baltic Sea port, which wouldn’t be possible for the EU to enforce.

One source told Reuters that Lithuania has “serious reservations” about making a concession to Moscow. Lithuanian officials have said publicly that they won’t reverse their decision and that they don’t expect a military response from Russia since Lithuania is a NATO member.

But the report said Lithuania fears Russia could respond to the Kaliningrad embargo by using its military to create a corridor through its territory. Other NATO nations have troops stationed in Lithuania, including the US and Germany. Berlin is trying to avoid an escalation over Kaliningrad and is backing the talks to reach a compromise, the report said.

Last week, Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov said he expects the EU will amend its sanctions for the territory. He noted that the EU has made previous commitments guaranteeing the transit of goods to Kaliningrad.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.