Russian military exercise held in Kaliningrad Oblast after Lithuania halts transit of Russian freight trains

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Servicemen from the Baltic Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation are conducting a training exercise for missile and artillery units in Kaliningrad Oblast [westernmost federal subject of Russia situated on the Baltic Sea, to the south of Lithuania - ed.].

According to Evropaiska Pravda, this was reported by RIA Novosti [Kremlin-aligned Russian news agency - ed.].

Approximately 1,000 Russian soldiers and over 100 pieces of military and special equipment from missile and artillery units are involved in the training manoeuvres.

It is reported that the soldiers serving in artillery and missile units will conduct "several hundred firing exercises" using Grad and Uragan multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), Giatsynt [Hyacinth - ed.] large-calibre self-propelled guns, and Msta-S, Akatsia [Acacia - ed.], and Gvozdika [Carnation - ed.] self-propelled artillery systems.

On 18 June, Anton Alihanov, governor of Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation, announced that on Saturday Lithuania banned the transit of freight trains carrying goods sanctioned by the EU through its territory.

The Russian Federation has said that Russia will be "free to solve the issue however it deems appropriate" if the EU does not address the "blockade of Kaliningrad."

Dmitriy Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said this situation was "unprecedented" and Lithuania’s decision was against the law. He added that Russia is still deciding on how to respond to it.

However, Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has said that he does not expect the escalation of tension in the EU’s diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation due to the blocking of transit to Kaliningrad Oblast.