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Vladimir Putin has sent a horror warning to Lithuania with Russia threatening a “serious negative impact” following claims from Moscow of a rail blockade of its territorial outpost in Kaliningrad.

Tensions are exploding in the Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland, with Russia warning of “practical” retaliatory action if the European Union doesn’t unblock metal goods stuck in transit.

Senior European Union diplomats are scrambling to diffuse the ticking timebomb in Kaliningrad, which Russia annexed after World War 2, and have warned the situation could escalate into a very serious one extremely quickly.

Officials have insisted this has arisen as an unintended consequence of the EU’s fourth sanctions package, which saw the bloc ban imports from Russia of steel and ferrous materials.

Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev has now threatened a “serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania”. He did not elaborate on what that could entail.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned if this is not quickly resolved, “retaliatory moves will be inevitable” and they will “not be in the diplomatic dimension”.

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