Lithuania cuts Russian gas imports, urges EU to follow suit

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania says it has completely cut itself off from gas imports from Russia, apparently becoming the first of 27 European Union countries to use Russian gas to break its energy dependence on Russia. -towards Moscow.

“Seeking complete energy independence from Russian gas, in response to Russian energy blackmail in Europe and the war in Ukraine, Lithuania has completely abandoned Russian gas,” the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. energy in a statement on Saturday evening, adding that the measure had taken effect at first. From April.

Lithuania succeeded in reducing Russian gas imports to zero on Saturday, a move seen as an important step in the energy independence of the former Soviet republic of 2.8 million people, the ministry said.

“We are the first EU country among Gazprom supplier countries to achieve independence from Russian gas supply, and this is the result of a consistent energy policy over several years and timely infrastructure decisions,” Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said.

READ MORE: Poland plans to end all Russian oil imports by the end of the year

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda posted an upbeat tweet on his account and urged other European nations to do the same.

“From this month, no more Russian gas in Lithuania. Years ago, my country took decisions that allow us today to easily sever energy ties with the aggressor. If we can do it, the rest of Europe can do it too! Nausea tweeted.

In 2015, almost 100% of Lithuania’s gas supplies came from Russian gas imports, but the situation has changed dramatically in recent years after the country built an off-shore LNG import terminal, launched in 2014, in the port city of Klaipeda.

The Ministry of Energy has indicated that from now on all gas intended for domestic consumption in Lithuania will be imported via the LNG terminal in Klaipeda.

Last year, some 26% of Lithuania’s gas supplies came from deliveries from a Russian gas pipeline, while 62% came from the Klaipeda LNG terminal and the remaining 12% was imported from gas storage in neighboring Latvia. .

Baltic neighbors Latvia and Estonia are also heavily dependent on Russian gas, but the Latvian natural gas storage operator said none of the three Baltic states imported Russian gas as of April 2.

Uldis Bariss, CEO of Conexus Baltic Grid, told Latvian media on Saturday that the Baltic gas market is currently served by gas reserves stored underground in Latvia.

Last month, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said the Klaipeda LNG terminal would not have enough capacity to supply gas to the three Baltic countries.

As a solution, the Estonian government has proposed building an LNG terminal jointly with Latvia and its northern neighbor Finland in the Estonian port town of Paldiski, not far from the capital, Tallinn.


Jari Tanner in Helsinki, Finland contributed to this report


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