Kaliningrad. Source: A.Savin, WikiCommons

Another chapter for the Kaliningrad story

Kaliningrad. Source: A.Savin, WikiCommons

Šiaulių Bankas promised to stop all transactions with between Lithuania and Russia and Belarus before the fall. It is the only Lithuanian bank that still carries out payments with the two countries.

Despite the EU sanctions have been lifted, Lithuania might hold its ground with Russia. Šiaulių Bankas states that “due to the unacceptable risks posed to the Bank by these countries, we are taking further preventive decisions and are announcing changes regarding the execution of payments to sanctioned countries”.

Šiaulių Bankas’ schedule

Šiaulių Bankas’ representative Monika Rožytė told Baltic News Service that the bank waited a little longer to provide its customers with enough time to find new markets and become less dependent on Russia and Belarus.

The bank will stop processing payments in Russian Ruble, regardless of the recipient’s country, from 15 August. Moreover, starting 1 September, no payments, in any currency, will be processed from Russia or Belarus. Exceptions will be made only for payments previously scheduled, payments meant to ensure State functions or humanitarian aid.

Russia’s reaction

The Russian embassy sent a letter to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. Moreover, Russian chargé d’affaires in Lithuania, Sergey Ryabakon told Rossiya 24 TV channel that there is still time to change the decision and defined Šiaulių Bankas’ actions as a hit from a new direction. These comments come after the EU lifted sanctions against Kaliningrad, allowing Russia to carry some goods by rail to and from the city.

The initiative of Šiaulių Bankas may have significant consequences on the rail traffic between the Russian mainland and Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave in Lithuania. More specifically, Anton Alikhanov, Governor of the Kaliningrad Region, told RIA Novosti that Šiaulių Bankas’ actions could lead to a halt in freight traffic to and from the Russian enclave.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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