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Lithuania threatens to stop using Russian oil and gas





Lithuania's president said the country was willing to stop Russian oil and gas imports, in the latest sign of how some EU nations plan to step up penalties on Moscow for invading Ukraine.


"It would create some problems, but those problems would not be critical," President Gitanas Nauseda said.


Lithuania got about 63% of its oil imports from Russia in 2019.


President Nauseda said that figure had now shrunk after its oil refinery stopped buying Russian crude oil.


Western countries hit Moscow with sanctions late last month over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the US has banned imports of Russian energy, while the UK is phasing out Russian oil imports.


The EU, which gets roughly 40% of its gas from Russia, has said it will cut reliance on this fuel source by two thirds within a year.


When it comes to Lithuania, President Nauseda told the BBC: "Of course, it depends on time: How long we would need to adjust [to cutting Russian imports].


"But I would say it in other words: We are better prepared for such a cut from Russian energy resources than many other countries in the EU."


On 3 March, the owner of Lithuania's Mazeikiai refinery, Orlen Lietuva, said it had agreed a deal with Saudi Aramco for five additional tankers of the commodity taken out of the North Sea.


That, it said, would ensure alternative supplies for Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic.


Four days later, the company said that given the situation in Ukraine, it was "prepared for any scenario, including the complete suspension of supplies from the eastern direction."


The warning from Lithuania's president shows how some countries are willing to put further pressure on Russia's economy.

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