VILNIUS - Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has rejected an offer from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to cooperatively construct a new nuclear power plant to deal with the energy needs of the region.
Lithuania has had to drastically increase its energy imports after the forced closure of its Soviet-era nuclear power plant at Ignalina, which the EU demamnded shut its doors over safety concerns.
The country has long-standing plans to build a new nuclear facility to meet its energy needs, but the pan-Baltic project has faced numerous delays following economic difficulties and bickering over power-distribution.
Russia hopes to build its own plant in Kaliningrad, and was looking for Lithuanian support on the project. The multi-billion euro plant would be located just a few kilometers from the Lithuanian border.
"President Grybauskaite told the Russians bluntly that Lithuania is not interested in joining in building a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, because we are going to build our own plant," presidential foreign affairs advisor Darius Semaska told Reuters.
Lithuania has narrowed the list of potential commercial partners for its own nuclear power plant project down to five companies, but is not expected to make a final decision until this summer.