Lithuanian government officials have expressed gratitude to Warsaw for joining Vilnius in its refusal to buy electricity from the Astravets nuclear power plant (NPP) now under construction in Belarus.
Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius commented last week that Poland’s stance highlighted the problems that Belarus would face as it tried to sell the plant’s output. “This is a signal to us as far as solidarity is concerned, but it is also a clear signal to Belarus. Problems selling electricity they plan to produce in that unsafe facility make the outlook for these intentions very dim,” he was quoted as saying by LETA.
Linkevicius also said that Warsaw’s actions amounted to a rebuke to Moscow, Minsk’s greatest ally. “I don't think this is a blow to Belarus. This is a blow to that geopolitical project organised by Russia,” he remarked.
Likewise, Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaciunas praised Poland’s move, saying that Lithuania was glad to have an ally in its opposition to the Astravets NPP. Moreover, he stated, Warsaw’s decision may bring more attention to the issue at the EU level.
When asked if Poland had taken action out of reservations about the Belarusian plant or out of a desire to insulate European markets from cheap power supplied by outside producers, Vaciunas declined to speculate. “What is important for us is to hear the fact that Poland is ready to help us and that it plans to keep that electricity out and says very clearly that it will dismantle the power lines. This is fully in line with our position,” he said.
“I’d rather not go into further interpretations,” he added. “These are Poland's internal political affairs.”
The energy minister further stated that he hoped Poland’s actions would serve as an example for other countries – particularly Latvia, which has taken a more neutral position and has declined to limit imports of electricity from Belarus. “I hope that Poland's clear and unambiguous statement will also contribute to Latvia’s position becoming increasingly supportive to us,” he was quoted as saying by LETA.
According to Vaciunas, Lithuanian and Latvian officials are currently in discussions on a proposed boycott of electricity from the Belarusian plant. He did not say when the two sides were likely to wrap up the talks, but he did say that Vilnius and Riga were trying to identify points of disagreement.