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Lithuania lifts ban on rail transport of goods into Russian exclave -agencies

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The Baltic state of Lithuania has lifted a ban on the rail transport of sanctioned goods into and out of the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, Russia’s RIA news agency said on Friday.

The European Union last week said the transit ban only affected road, not rail, transit, and Lithuania should therefore allow Russia to ship concrete, wood and alcohol across EU territory to the exclave.

Lithuania had stopped Russia from sending sanctioned goods via rail to Kaliningrad in June, triggering an outcry from Moscow and a promise of swift retaliation.

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RIA cited Mantas Dubauskas, spokesman for the state railway company, as saying it had informed customers they could ship goods once again.

“It is possible that some goods will be transported today,” RIA quoted him as telling Lithuanian television.

Separately, Tass news agency cited a Kaliningrad government official as saying 60 wagons of cement would soon be shipped into the exclave.

Kaliningrad is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania and cut off from the rest of Russia. Russian officials said the ban could have affected up to half of all cargo shipments to Kaliningrad, though Lithuania said only around 15% would be hit. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Grant McCool)

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