BERLIN — Lithuania has stopped importing pure gasoline 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 on the lookout for methods to cut back its dependency on Russian fossil fuels, together with coal and oil, however particularly gasoline. Almost 40 p.c of the bloc’s complete pure gasoline got here from Russia. However since Moscow ordered tanks into Ukraine on Feb. 24, member states have been extra actively in search of methods to chop their gasoline 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 financial system extra reliant on commerce than trade, it’s the largest financial system within the Baltic States and in addition a member of the eurozone. So whereas dropping Lithuania as a buyer is unlikely to considerably harm Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned vitality group, the transfer has geopolitical significance in setting a precedent for the E.U.
“I feel it’s a symbolic step by Lithuania, which has lengthy tried to be within the vanguard of decreasing and doubtlessly eliminating its dependence on Russian gasoline,” 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 larger volumes of Russian gasoline and are certain to long-term contracts.
Lithuania borders on the Russian territory of Kaliningrad and was as soon as totally depending on imports of Russian gasoline — a legacy of the nation’s historical past as a part of the previous Soviet Union. However building of a liquefied pure gasoline terminal in 2014 allowed it to start shifting away from dependence on Russia.
Final week, President Vladimir V. Putin threatened to chop off gasoline provides to “unfriendly nations,” except the nations began paying for the provides in rubles. European leaders rejected the thought, but it surely remained unclear how the standoff is perhaps resolved. Germany and Italy, particularly, are closely depending on Russian gasoline, though Germany has just lately secured partnerships with the US and different energy-rich nations.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has known as on E.U. nations to cease shopping for gasoline from Russia, going as far as to induce Qatar and different vitality producers to extend their gasoline exports to Europe as a part of a drive to cut back the continent’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
Earlier this yr, Lithuania’s vitality minister stated the nation was in a position to order sufficient deliveries of LNG to satisfy its vitality wants. If essential, it might probably additionally obtain gasoline deliveries by way of a hyperlink with Latvia.
“We’re the primary E.U. nation amongst Gazprom’s provide nations to achieve independence from Russian gasoline 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.