Lithuania’s president said his country was willing to halt Russian oil and gas supplies, the latest evidence that some EU countries are preparing to ratchet up sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
“It would create some problems, but those problems would not be critical,” President Gitanas Nauseda remarked.
In 2019, Russia supplied roughly 63 percent of Lithuania’s oil imports.
President Nauseda stated that the figure has decreased because the country’s oil refinery ceased buying Russian crude oil.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western countries imposed sanctions late last month. With the United States banning Russian energy imports and the United Kingdom phasing out Russian oil imports.
The EU has said that it will reduce its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds within a year. The EU imports roughly 40% of its gas from Russia.
“Of course, everything depends on time: how long we’d have to adjust [to reduced Russian imports],” Lithuanian President Nauseda told the BBC.
On March 3, Orlen Lietuva, the owner of Lithuania’s Mazeikiai refinery, stated that it had secured an agreement with Saudi Aramco to collect five more tankers of the commodity from the North Sea.
It stated that this would supply alternative supplies to Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
Due to the situation in Ukraine, the company stated it was “prepared for any scenario. Including the complete halt of shipments from the eastern direction” four days later.
Building Economic Pressure On Russia
The president of Lithuania’s warning demonstrates how certain countries are eager to increase economic pressure on Russia.
Apart from oil, Lithuania has worked hard over the last decade to lessen its natural gas reliance on Russia, particularly by building its own LNG facility, Independence.
President Nauseda, however, stated that energy independence is still a work in progress.
President Nauseda also recognised that there has been persistent worry. Especially from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, over whether the Baltic states, including Lithuania, could be the next target of Russian President Vladimir Putin.