Lithuanian MPs stage Astravyets solidarity picket outside Latvian Embassy

  • 2020-06-09
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Several Lithuanian lawmakers from the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and members of the Movement Against the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant have on Tuesday staged a picket outside the Latvian Embassy in Vilnius, urging the neighboring country not to buy electricity from the nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus in solidarity with Lithuania.

MP Laurynas Kasciunas of the HU-LCD said up to 15 people attended the picket during which an appeal was presented to the Latvian ambassador.

"We handed over an appeal we, Seimas members, signed to the Latvian ambassador. (…) We really have many questions on Latvia's existing position," Kasciunas told BNS. "We urge lawmakers to take more of political control."

The picket was attended by HU-LCD lawmakers Audronius Azubalis, Zygimantas Pavilionis, Vilija Aleknaite Abramikiene, Emanuelis Zingeris and Kestutis Masiulis, as well liberal MEP Petras Austrevicius.

The presented document, which BNS saw, asks the Latvian government to prevent electricity from Astravyets from entering the Baltic states in solidarity with Lithuania and Estonia.

The appeal was signed by HU-LCD members Azubalis, Aleknaite-Abramikiene, Kazys Starkevicius, Kasciunas, Vikorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, leader of the Liberal Movement, as well as Stasys Tumenas, Arvydas Nekrosius and Arunas Gumuliauskas, all three representing the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, as well as Vytautas Bakas and Povilas Urbsys from the non-attached political group in the Lithuanian Seimas.

Lithuania is trying to convince Estonia and Latvia to boycott electricity produced in Astravyets. The two neighbors back Lithuania's aspiration but both, especially Latvia, do not to make the commitment no to buy Belarusian electricity once Astravyets is launched.

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday made no decision on a proposed agreement with the other two Baltic states on electricity trade with Belarus and other third countries. Vilnius expects the European Commission to play a more active role in the talks.  

Opposition politicians and some experts are calling on the government to seek a more ambitious trilateral agreement to commit all three Baltic states to boycotting Belarusian electricity, a moved opposed by Latvia.  

Lithuania is the main critic of the Astravyets plant located some 50 kilometers from Vilnius, saying that the facility fails to meet international safety standards, an allegation that Minsk denies.