MOSCOW, Nov 7 Unsustainable defense spending, support for Ukraine led to Lithuania introducing a tax on rain, said Senator from Kaliningrad Alexander Shenderyuk-Zhidkov.
From January 2024, a law approved by the Seimas at the proposal of the government will come into force in Lithuania, according to which some people will have to pay for rainwater.
““For the sake of new German tank battalions, Lithuania is introducing a rain tax,” the politician noted, commenting on yesterday’s statement by the German Ministry of Defense that Germany was transferring the 203rd tank and 122nd motorized infantry battalions to Lithuania in order to maintain the deployment of troops on the ground in medium term.
According to the politician, the almost doubling of defense spending, the colossal support of Ukraine, which already amounts to almost 1.5% of GDP, as well as the restriction of Kaliningrad transit and other anti-Russian economic measures of the Lithuanian government have led to the fact that the planned budget deficit of Lithuania next year will amount to 2.9% of GDP.
“The Lithuanian authorities no longer know where to look for additional resources and are even forced to introduce a rain tax to cover growing costs. At the same time, teachers are on strike in the country. But instead of meeting the demands through the new tax teachers, the Lithuanian authorities will apparently support new German tank battalions,” noted Shenderyuk-Zhidkov.
In June, Lithuania's Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrine Armonaitė said that Lithuania had allocated about 1 billion euros in aid to Ukraine, which amounted to 1.42% of the Baltic republic's GDP for 2022.
“Unfortunately, today's Lithuania is a vivid example of how, for the sake of hatred of Russia, the authorities sacrifice the well-being of their citizens,” the senator concluded.
Russia previously sent a note to NATO countries over arms supplies to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that any cargo that contains weapons for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that NATO countries are “playing with fire” by supplying weapons to Ukraine. The Kremlin stated that pumping Ukraine up with weapons from the West does not contribute to the success of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations and will have a negative effect. Lavrov also stated that the United States and NATO are directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine, including not only by supplying weapons, but also by training personnel in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and other countries.
After the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, the West increased sanctions pressure on Russia; disruption of supply chains led to an increase in prices for fuel and food in Europe and the United States. The Russian Federation has repeatedly stated that the country will cope with the sanctions pressure that the West began to exert on Russia several years ago and continues to increase. Moscow noted that the West lacks the courage to admit the failure of sanctions against the Russian Federation. In Western countries themselves, opinions have been repeatedly voiced that anti-Russian sanctions are ineffective.
Since June last year, Lithuania has banned the transport of goods subject to EU sanctions through its territory to the Kaliningrad region: building materials, metal, wood, cement, fertilizers, alcohol, caviar and other categories – in general, about half of the total volume of transportation.
In the Kaliningrad region, which has no borders with other constituent entities of the Russian Federation, after the decision to limit the transportation of goods through Lithuania by rail and road, problems arose with land transit. It was decided to deliver cargo to the region from other regions of Russia along an alternative route through the Baltic Sea on ships and ferries. A total of 19 vessels were used for these purposes at the end of 2022.
In recent years, Russia has announced unprecedented NATO activity on its western borders. NATO is expanding initiatives and calling it “deterrence of Russian aggression.” Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern about the buildup of alliance forces in Europe. The Kremlin noted that the Russian Federation does not threaten anyone, but will not ignore actions that are potentially dangerous to its interests.