MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s border guards would on Thursday scrap extra border checks of Lithuanian goods, measures imposed last month amid a reported surge in border violations, the Russian Customs Service said Wednesday.
Lithuania, which sends 30 percent of its exports to Russia, was hit by a temporary tightening of customs checks for its goods on September 11. The move caused long delays at the border and allegedly millions of euros in losses for the freight industry.
Russian border guards said the measures were introduced after an inspection revealed numerous violations committed by Lithuanian companies.
“As a result of these measures, the number of border violations committed by Lithuanian importers and trucking companies has dropped and is currently within the average levels,” the Russian Federal Customs Service said in a statement, explaining the reason behind lifting the ban.
Targeting another sector of the Lithuanian economy, Russia imposed a temporary ban on Lithuanian dairy products on Monday. Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said the reason was “legislative violations related to consumer rights … and human disease control and prevention.”
The European Commission said it might bring the matter before the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said in an interview with the Laisvoji banga radio station that he had requested a conversation on the issue with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev.
Lithuania reacted angrily to the trade restrictions, with some officials even suggesting as a retaliatory measure that a blockade should be imposed on Kaliningrad, a Russian Baltic exclave wedged between Lithuania and Poland.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite had previously told the United Nations that the trade restrictions were an attempt by Moscow to exert pressure on Lithuania. The country’s capital, Vilnius, will host a summit with former Soviet countries in a bid to pull them closer to the Union.
Ukraine and Moldova – two ex-Soviet republics expected to sign a key association agreement and a free-trade zone deal at the summit – also faced similar trade sanctions.
Russia imposed additional border checks on Ukrainian goods at its border on August 15, lasting several days and causing long lines and delays. About two weeks later, Russia banned imports of sweets produced at four factories of major Ukrainian candy maker Roshen.
On September 11, Russia banned imports of Moldovan wine and spirits, citing quality concerns.