Freight cars stand on the railroad tracks of the freight station in Kaliningrad, Russia on June 21, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)
UNITED NATIONS/MOSCOW – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday expressed grave concern about the current tension between Lithuania and Russia over Kaliningrad, said his spokesman.
"We are, obviously, following these developments very closely in and around Kaliningrad, including the warnings we have seen of possible escalation, which are very concerning," said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman.
This AFP graphic dated June 20, 2022 shows the map of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and railways transiting through Lithuania.
It's very important for us that all sides deal with their concerns through effective dialogue with appropriate diplomatic channels, in accordance with international law, and to refrain from any statement or from any action that could aggravate the tense situation.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
"It's very important for us that all sides deal with their concerns through effective dialogue with appropriate diplomatic channels, in accordance with international law, and to refrain from any statement or from any action that could aggravate the tense situation," said the spokesman.
Lithuania announced last week that it would ban the rail transit of goods subject to European Union's sanctions through its territory to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the Lithuanian charge d'affaires and demanded the restrictions be immediately lifted, calling them "provocative" and "openly hostile."
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On Tuesday, the ministry summoned the head of the EU Delegation to Russia Markus Ederer to protest against the restrictions on the cargo transit, it said in a statement.
The ministry informed Ederer about the "inadmissibility of such actions" and the consequences, adding that such actions violate the legal and political obligations of the EU and will lead to an escalation of tensions.
The ministry said retaliation would follow if the cargo transit was not restored.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates military and civilian personnel and veterans of the Border Guards Service on Border Guard's Day, at Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow on May 28, 2022. (MIKHAIL METZEL / SPUTNIK / AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had already successfully tested its new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, adding that the first such missile system would be deployed at the end of the year
Sarmat ballistic missile system by year end
In another development, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the country's first Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile system would enter combat duty by the end of the year.
"We will continue to develop and strengthen our armed forces, taking into account potential military threats and risks," Putin said during his meeting with military academy graduates.
Putin said it was important to equip troops with modern weapon systems, as this would largely determine the Russian army's combat capabilities for decades to come.
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He said that Russia had already successfully tested its new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, adding that the first such missile system would be deployed at the end of the year.
The Russian leader said troops were already being equipped with S-500 air and missile defense systems, which "have no analogues in the world."