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Lithuania Says It Has Stopped Importing Gas From Russia

BERLIN — Lithuania has stopped importing pure fuel from Russia as of April and can be capable of rely as a substitute on deliveries from different nations to satisfy its vitality wants, the nation’s president introduced on Saturday, saying the transfer was an instance for different European Union members.

Earlier than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the E.U. had been in search of methods to cut back its dependency on Russian fossil fuels, together with coal and oil, however particularly fuel. Practically 40 p.c of the bloc’s complete pure fuel got here from Russia. However since Moscow ordered tanks into Ukraine on Feb. 24, member states have been extra actively looking for methods to chop their fuel wants.

“If we are able to do it, the remainder of Europe can do it too,” Gitanas Nauseda, Lithuania’s president, stated on Twitter on Saturday.

Whereas Lithuania is a tiny nation with solely 2.8 million folks and an economic system extra reliant on commerce than business, it’s the largest economic system within the Baltic States and in addition a member of the eurozone. So whereas shedding Lithuania as a buyer is unlikely to considerably damage Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned vitality group, the transfer has geopolitical significance in setting a precedent for the E.U.

“I believe it’s a symbolic step by Lithuania, which has lengthy tried to be within the vanguard of lowering and doubtlessly eliminating its dependence on Russian fuel,” stated Katja Yafimava, a senior analysis fellow on the Oxford Institute for Power Research. She added that Germany, France and Italy couldn’t simply make an analogous transfer as a result of they depend on a lot greater volumes of Russian fuel and are certain to long-term contracts.

Lithuania borders on the Russian territory of Kaliningrad and was as soon as absolutely depending on imports of Russian fuel — a legacy of the nation’s historical past as a part of the previous Soviet Union. However building of a liquefied pure fuel terminal in 2014 allowed it to start transferring away from dependence on Russia.

Final week, President Vladimir V. Putin threatened to chop off fuel provides to “unfriendly nations,” except the nations began paying for the provides in rubles. European leaders rejected the thought, however it remained unclear how the standoff is perhaps resolved. Germany and Italy, particularly, are closely depending on Russian fuel, though Germany has lately secured partnerships with the US and different energy-rich nations.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has referred to as on E.U. nations to cease shopping for fuel from Russia, going as far as to induce Qatar and different vitality producers to extend their fuel exports to Europe as a part of a drive to cut back the continent’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

Earlier this 12 months, Lithuania’s vitality minister stated the nation was in a position to order sufficient deliveries of LNG to satisfy its vitality wants. If mandatory, it may additionally obtain fuel deliveries by way of a hyperlink with Latvia.

“We’re the primary E.U. nation amongst Gazprom’s provide nations to realize independence from Russian fuel provides, and that is the results of a multiyear coherent vitality coverage and well timed infrastructure selections,” Dainius Kreivys, the nation’s vitality minister, stated in a press release on Saturday.

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