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The number of Lithuanian residents considering Belarus to be an unfriendly state is rising amid ongoing disagreements over the Astravyets nuclear power plant, a new public opinion survey has revealed on Friday.
Baltarusijoje į Pergalės dienos minėjimą susirinko minios žmonių
Baltarusijoje į Pergalės dienos minėjimą susirinko minios žmonių
© Scanpix

"The number of those considering Belarus to be a friendly state has gone down to 44 percent in 2020, from 55 percent four years ago. Over the period, the share of those considering Belarus to be an unfriendly state has gone up from 28 to 36 percent," the Eastern Europe Studies Center said in its report.

Analysts from the center say such an opinion is determined by the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus close to the Lithuanian border as the Lithuanian government has accused the Belarusian authorities of having picked a wrong location for the project as well as of low environmental and safety standards.

According to the survey, 54 percent of respondents agree with the statement that the Astravyets NPP project poses threat to Lithuania. The survey's authors say the Lithuanian public has an increasingly negative opinion about Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Russia named unfriendliest

Russia remains to be considered the unfriendliest country towards Lithuania, with 68 percent of respondents believing so. And 13 percent believe Russia is a friendly country towards Lithuania. Latvia (93 percent), Germany (87 percent), Estonia (85 percent), Sweden (84 percent) and Ukraine (81 percent) are considered the friendliest countries.

Attitudes towards the United States and Poland have worsened in recent years. Although almost three quarters (73 percent) of Lithuanian residents consider the US to be a friendly state, the percentage this year was 12 percentage points higher in 2016.

RESC analysts also say it might have to do with negative attitudes towards the country's President Donald Trump as well as respondents' opinion that Lithuania's security has gone down during his term: as little as 13 percent believe Lithuania's security has gone up during Trumps' presidential term, and 39 percent have the opposite opinion.

Attitudes to Poland have not gone down so much, with RESC analysts saying further research will be necessary to determine how significant that is. It has gone down from 81 percent in 2016 to 74 percent in 2020.

The survey was carried out on April 22-May 6 by Spinter Tyrimai, using a questionnaire compiled by the RESC. A total of 1,012 people, aged 18-75, were polled online and by phone.

BNS
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