Russian actions harm Lithuania's logistics business, may divide Baltic states
Lithuania's State Security Department (VSD) has warned that Russia's protectionist policies and aims to restrict cargo flows harm Lithuania's transport business and energy and, furthermore, can divide the three Baltic states.
"Russia's strategy to divert local cargo to home seaports, which was inciting a competition between the Baltic states' transport companies, could give background for splitting the Baltic states' stances regarding the most important region's economic security issues," reads the department's assessment of national security threats published on Monday.
According to the document, Russia has reduced crude supplies to Belarus and has begun to press Belarus to shift the oil product export to Russian seaports in return for railway tariffs.
The report suggests that Russia sought to block transit cargo of Lithuanian companies headed to Russia in an effort to take over the freight. According to the document, Russia has also pressed Belarus into halting cargo from Lithuania.
"In 2016, Lithuanian motor transport transit companies were forced to continue competing with Russian companies on unequal terms. Russia not only exerted pressure on Belarus customs control officers to periodically impede cargo transportations on Lithuania-Belarus border control posts, but also started to apply more administrative requirements on Lithuanian road carriers and state institutions. In addition, motorway tolls had increased," reads the report.
Russia and Belarus last week again failed to find compromise in the dispute of over one year on gas and crude supplies. The dispute has a direct impact on the operations of the state-run railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) and energy terminals operator Klaipedos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil).