By LIUDAS DAPKUS Associated Press
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania says it has completely cut gas imports from Russia, reportedly becoming the first of 27 European Union nations to use Russian gas to break its energy dependency on Moscow.
“Seeking full energy independence from Russian gas, in response to Russia’s energy blackmail in Europe and the war in Ukraine, Lithuania has completely abandoned Russian gas,” the Lithuanian Energy Ministry said in a statement late Saturday. , adding that the measure came into force from the beginning. of April.
Lithuania managed to cut Russian gas imports to zero on Saturday, a move that marked a milestone in achieving energy independence in the former Soviet republic of 2.8 million, the ministry said.
“We are the first EU country among Gazprom supplier countries to become independent from Russian gas supply, and this is the result of a consistent multi-year energy policy and timely infrastructure decisions,” said Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys.
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The Lithuanian president posted an upbeat tweet on his account and urged other European nations to do the same.
“Starting this month, no more Russian gas in Lithuania. Years ago my country made decisions that today allow us to painlessly break the energetic ties with the aggressor. If we can do it, the rest of Europe can too!”
In 2015, almost 100% of Lithuania’s gas supply came from Russian gas imports, but the situation has changed dramatically in recent years after the country built an offshore LNG import terminal, opened in 2014 , in the port city of Klaipeda.
The Energy Ministry said that from now on all gas for Lithuania’s domestic consumption will be imported through the Klaipeda LNG terminal.
Last year, some 26% of Lithuania’s gas supply came from deliveries from a Russian pipeline, while 62% came from the Klaipeda LNG terminal and the remaining 12% was imported from gas storage in neighboring Latvia.
Baltic neighbors Latvia and Estonia also rely heavily on Russian gas, but Latvia’s natural gas storage operator said none of the three Baltic states were importing Russian gas as of April 2.
Uldis Bariss, CEO of Conexus Baltic Grid, told Latvian media on Saturday that the Baltic gas market was currently being served by gas reserves stored underground in Latvia.
Last month, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said the Klaipeda LNG terminal would not have enough capacity to supply gas to the three Baltic states.
As a solution, the Estonian government has proposed to build an LNG terminal together with Latvia and its Nordic neighbor Finland in the Estonian port city of Paldiski, which is not far from the capital Tallinn.
Jari Tanner in Helsinki, Finland contributed to this report
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