Belarus' Lukashenko Calls Lithuania's Blockade of Kaliningrad 'De Facto Declaration of War'
15:22 GMT 25.06.2022 (Updated: 16:05 GMT 25.06.2022)
© Sputnik / Mikhail MetzelBelarus' President Alexander Lukashenko
© Sputnik / Mikhail Metzel/
Lithuania earlier banned the transportation of goods from Russia to its exclave of Kaliningrad both via railway and road, despite having an outstanding agreement with Moscow that transportation corridors must remain open at all times. Lithuania claims that it was simply fulfilling EU sanctions against Russia.
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko has condemned Lithuania's move to block all ground communications between Russia and its exclave of Kaliningrad, calling it a "de facto declaration of war".
"Recently, there has been increasingly more information emerging about [Lithuania's] plan to stop transit from Russia through Belarus to Kaliningrad. It's like declaring some kind of war. This is unacceptable in today's environment," Lukashenko said.
He added that he had grown concerned with the confrontational rhetoric of some of Belarus' neighbors, namely Poland and Lithuania, as well as NATO nuclear-capable aircraft flights near the Belarussian borders. Lukashenko stated that Belarus should be ready for anything, including to use the "most serious weapons" available to defend the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
In light of this, the Belarus president asked his Russian counterpart to help modernize the country's aircraft to be able to carry nuclear bombs. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, notified Lukashenko that Russia decided to ship several 9M723 Iskander-M (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) mobile short-range ballistic missile systems.
Iskander launchers can handle both conventional and nuclear short-range missiles. However, Putin did not specify which ammunition will be supplied with the Iskander-M's shipped to Belarus.
Russia earlier harshly condemned Lithuania's announcement of plans to cut all goods transit from Russia to Kaliningrad in reported accordance with EU sanctions. The move leaves Russia with a maritime route to reach its exclave.
The Kremlin slammed the decision as a "blockade" and vowed to respond in kind and decisively, but has not elaborated on the measures yet. Moscow also reminded Lithuania that it was bound by an agreement with Russia that mandates that it must allow Russian goods to flow unimpeded to Kaliningrad.