VILNIUS – A movement against the Astravyets nuclear power plant, recently established in Lithuania by representatives of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Liberal Movement and some public figures, gathered for its first convention at the Lithuanian parliament on Saturday and agreed to send a letter to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and also collect signatures for a EP resolution.
"From today, we will start collecting signatures under a petition against Astravyets, and we have translated it to at least four languages. We will collect signatures in neighboring countries and the European Union. The deadline for the collection of those signatures is April 20 to make it until the Chernobyl anniversary, and after all the rounds in EU capitals, we will present it together with Petras Austrevicius and, I hope, Vytautas Landsbergis at the European Parliament," MP Zygimantas Pavilionis of the HU-LCD told a press conference after the convention.
"We also adopted a resolution that includes all goals of our movement and at the end of the meeting, on behalf of the movement, we adopted an open letter to Lukashenko, and we plan to hand it over, written in the Belarusian language, to the Belarusian Embassy next week to hand it over to their boss," he said.
The letter to Lukashenko states that "the public anti-Astravyets movement in Lithuania is not anti-Belarusian" and it wishes Belarus "business and spiritual wellbeing".
"We understand that the Kremlin's egoistic rulers are taking advantage of weaker Belarus' space and resources. We know that more traps for Belarus, as a state and nation, have been prepared but Lithuania finds the Rosatom agency's venture in Astravyets as exceptionally dangerous. We propose not to force the launch of the first unit of that power plant by ignoring international safety requirements and our good neighborhood," the letter reads.
It also suggests resolving the Astravyets NPP problem in the context of Belarusian-Lithuanian and Belarusian-EU relations. "Time is needed for a better solution. Find it," the letter reads.
Vytautas Landsbergis, chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas, told the press conference that the construction of the nuclear power plant close to the Lithuanian border was "the grand taunt".
"In fact, the Astravyets venture is the grand taunt: you are small, you are helpless, you cannot do anything, and we will do whatever we want. And we say we can do something and we are resisting, and we’ll see if you will be successful unconditionally with you taunting," Landsbergis told the press conference.
The first gathering of Movement Against the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant was also attended by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Anatoly Lebedko, head of the European Dialogue center, Pavel Severinec, a representative of the Belarusian Christian Democrats, and others.
Participants of the convention were by phone greeted by Nobel Prize laureate Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich, and were also welcomed by Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis.
Lithuanian politicians and public figures established the public movement against the Astravyet nuclear power plant which is nearing completion in Belarus on Feb 1.
The Movement Against the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant will seek to block access to energy produced by this facility to the EU market, halt its further expansion, and make sure Lithuania and the EU take action to ensure the safety of the nuclear facility.
Belarus says nuclear fuel for the 1st reactor should be brought in in the first quarter of 2020.
Lithuania's position is that the Belarusian nuclear facility is being construction unsafely and in violation of international commitments, which Minsk denies.