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Lithuania seeks US help against the Astravets NPP

Lithuania’s Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas discussed energy security with US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. The main focus was on further cooperation between the United States, Lithuania and the Baltic States in the field of energy and on the construction of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant in the territory neighbouring the EU in violation of international nuclear safety requirements.

“Today, a joint effort is critical to protect our citizens from the threats posed by the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant, to protect Belarus itself from irresponsible steps when the commissioning of a nuclear facility is politically forced,” said Minister Vaičiūnas. “The Astravets NPP will leave Belarus in Russia’s nuclear embrace and dependence for many decades to come.”

Regarding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Minister Vaičiūnas welcomed the active and efficient action of the US. Now the same involvement is needed to address another regional threat.

The Astravets Nuclear Power Plant cannot be launched until the essential conditions for its safety are ensured. First, international safety standards and the recommendations of stress tests performed by independent EU experts must be implemented at the nuclear facility before the commissioning. Secondly, a nuclear power plant cannot be commissioned without the necessary reserves.

“The relations between Lithuania and the US have a long history, with many examples of mutual trust and support between our countries,” stressed Minister Vaičiūnas. “Lithuania has never had such a comprehensive energy dialogue with the United States as it does now – we highly value this dialogue and the US leadership in developing bilateral and multilateral energy cooperation.”

Since the beginning of the year, four large LNG cargoes that have already been received from the US through the Klaipeda terminal.

Also, US Secretary Brouillette drew attention to the changes in the regional Baltic gas market. The GIPL and Balticconnector pipelines will give a new impetus to the development of the regional gas market and new opportunities for gas exports outside it.

Mr Vaičiūnas mentioned that with the existing and future infrastructure and in cooperation with the US, Lithuania could play an important role with Belarus pursuing the diversification of gas sources. According to him, there are all technical possibilities to reduce Russia’s influence in the Belarusian gas sector, but this also requires political will from Belarus itself. The supply of US crude oil through the port of Klaipeda was welcomed as the first example of successful diversification of Belarus’ energy resources.

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