Belarus' N-plant should be unacceptable to EU - Lithuanian president

  • 2020-08-19
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant, which is considered unsafe by Lithuania, should be unacceptable to the European Union and its electricity imports should be treated as support for Alexander Lukashenko's regime, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told his EU counterparts on Wednesday.

Nauseda said he raised the issue of Astravyets safety at the EU's video summit.

"I put it this way: can the Astravyets nuclear power plant, which (Belarus) wants to launch without having met all the stress test and safety requirements be acceptable to the European Union, especially given the current circumstances, and don't we treat electricity imports from such a power plant in the current circumstances as support for the regime that has discredited itself?", he told reporters after the summit.

The Lithuanian government says the Astravyets plant, located some 50 kilometers from Vilnius and less than 30 kilometers from the countries' shared border, fails to meet international safety and environmental standards, an allegation that Minsk denies.

Nauseda said he expects that both neighboring countries and the EU as a whole will listen to Lithuania's concern about the plant's safety.

"I believe this should resonate both in the hearts and minds of our closest neighbors and, I hope, be reflected in the common position of the European Union," he said.

Lithuania is determined to ban power imports from Belarus once the neighboring country launches the Astravyets facility and is trying to convince Latvia and Estonia to join the boycott to bar access for the plant's electricity to the Baltic and other EU markets.

The EU's online summit focused on the political situation in Belarus in the wake of the August 9 presidential vote and post-election protests.