Russia is using energy projects, such as the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, to intimidate Europe, Lithuania's Ambassador to the United States, Rolandas Krisciunas, said at a conference of the executive council, ministers and diplomats of the Community of Democracies last Friday.
Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Lithuania's Ambassador to the United States
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

"The ambassador noted that there was a number of countries that did not meet their international obligations, spreading misinformation and being aggressive towards other countries. (…) Furthermore, the ambassador emphasized that the nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus close to Lithuania by Russia and the Nord Stream 2 project were political tools intended to intimidate European nations," the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

In Lithuania's words, Belarus is building the nuclear power plant in violation of the provisions of the Espoo and Aarhus conventions. Additionally, Belarus has failed to provide any research-based explanations behind the selection of the Astravyets site, which is merely 50 km from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, and did not conduct any tests of possible radiological effects upon waters, Lithuanian residents and the environment in case of an accident.

Some 65 percent of Lithuania's residents view the Astravyets utility as a security threat, shows a public opinion poll conducted for BNS.

Russia's gas giant Gazprom intends to start the implementation of the nearly 10 billion euro Nord Stream 2 project with Western European energy concerns in April of 2018. It is strongly opposed by Denmark, and its government even proposed changing the country's laws to block the project.

Other opponents include Lithuania and other countries. Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has said Europe did not need Nord Stream 2, which can divide the continent. Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite says the project can split Europe, as it is not a commercial project but a geopolitical one aimed at harming Ukraine. The opinion is seconded by Estonia and Latvia.

BNS
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