LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Upcoming events in Lithuania for Wednesday, November 9, 2022
- Vilnius hosting 2nd Future of Democracy Forum to discuss emerging challenges
- Lithuanian border guards prevent 8 migrants from crossing in from Belarus
- Lithuania could serve as gateway to Europe for green hydrogen – environmin
- Lithuania reports 328 new COVID-19 cases, no deaths
- NATO Vilnius summit to take place on 11-12 July 2023 – Stoltenberg
- Lithuania's InterMin proposes tightening immigration, citizenship procedures
- Lithuanian formin calls on North Macedonia to back special tribunal for Russia
- Lithuanian customs officers block tank car with Z symbol from entering from Belarus
- Lithuanian formin calls on West to restrict supply of dual use goods to Iran over drones
- Lithuania calls on Minsk to immediately resolve safety issues at Belarusian N-plant
- Lithuania postpones request for RRF funds after failing to meet certain indicators
- Lithuanian president to go to Poland to discuss Ukraine support
- Upcoming events in Lithuania for Thursday, November 10, 2022
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Wednesday, November 9, 2022:
SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen to chair a meeting of the Board of the Seimas at 9 a.m.; to attend a conference on children's emotional wellbeing in hospitals at 9.45 a.m.; to meet with Andorran Foreign Minister Maria Ubach Font at noon; to meet with North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani at 1 p.m.; Speaker of Canada's Senate George J. Furey at 3.10 p.m.
PRIME MINISTER Ingrida Simonyte to chair a Cabinet meeting and sitting at 1 p.m.
FOREIGN MINISTER Gabrielius Landsbergis to meet with North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani at 10.30 a.m.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – The second high-level Future of Democracy Forum, hosted by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, kicks off in Vilnius on Wednesday.
The event, which will gather supporters of democracy from all over the world, will focus on the biggest challenges facing democracy today and possible actions to rebuff a growing authoritarian pressure.
Bringing together democracy supporters and coordinating mutual action became even more relevant, when Russia began the barbaric war against Ukraine and the interaction of authoritarian forces is increasing, the ministry said in a press release.
One of the main questions the forum’s participants will seek to answer is how to help democracy activists and human rights defenders as well as independent media operating in autocratic countries.
They will also discuss how to reverse the global rise of authoritarianism, how to counter authoritarian regimes’ attempts to weaponize democratic institutions for their own purposes, and how to restore the crumbling global security architecture.
Participants will come from at least 30 countries representing different regions of the world.
The event will be attended by Robert Berschinski, Special Assistant to U.S. President Joe Biden, Thomas E. Garrett, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, foreign ministers and vice-ministers, former Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, several UN special rapporteurs and prominent democracy defenders, such as a famous historian, journalist Anne Applebaum, journalist Zhanna Nemtsova, daughter of murdered Russian opposition politician, Taiwan and Far East specialist Antoine Bondaz from France, and others.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuanian border guards have in the past 24 hours turned away 8 migrants attempting to cross into the country from Belarus illegally, the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) said on Wednesday morning.
Latvia recorded 12 attempts to cross the border illegally on Tuesday, and Polish border guards denied entry to 64 irregular migrants on Monday, according to the latest available information.
The daily number of migrants refused entry to Lithuania reached this year's high of 135 on September 20, nine fewer than the highest ever number recorded on November 12, 2021.
A total of 10,126 irregular migrants have been stopped from entering Lithuania since January.
Lithuanian border guards have sent about 18,200 people back to Belarus since August 3, 2021, when they were given the right to deny entry to irregular migrants. The number includes repeated attempts by the same people to cross the border.
The SBGS says that illegal migration to Lithuania and the EU is being facilitated by Belarusian officials.
Almost 4,200 irregular migrants crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally last year.
Lithuania calls the unprecedented influx of migrants from Belarus, which began more than a year ago, a "hybrid attack" by the Minsk regime.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuania could serve as gateway to Europe for green hydrogen, Environment Minister Simonas Gentvilas has said.
According to the minister, green hydrogen is one of the most promising new energy technologies and its wider use in energy, industry and transport would contribute to the process of decarbonization while investment in its production would give an impetus for energy innovations, the Environment Ministry said in a press release.
“Green hydrogen can well be the tool we are all looking for to achieve a breakthrough in combating climate change. Lithuania is ready to offer its infrastructure for importing green hydrogen to Europe. Our country happens to be part of the EU-supported hydrogen supply corridor. Lithuania’s infrastructure – the port of Klaipeda with its LNG import terminal and the gas interconnection with Poland – would allow us to reach the largest European importers,” he said at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt.
The minister invited, on behalf of Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Oceania to cooperate in developing the production, trade, and use of green hydrogen.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuania has recorded 328 new coronavirus infections and no deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, official statistics showed on Wednesday morning.
Of the new cases, 253 were primary, 71 were secondary, and four were tertiary.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 now stands at 119, including five ICU cases.
The 14-day primary infection rate has edged down to 146 cases per 100,000 people, with the seven-day percentage of positive tests at 19.6 percent.
The daily number of new coronavirus cases remains well below the peak of over 14,000 reached in early February.
More than 1.2 million people in Lithuania have tested positive with COVID-19 at least once.
Some 70 percent of the Lithuanian population have received at least one coronavirus vaccine jab so far.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – The next meeting of NATO heads of state and government will take place in Vilnius on July 11-12, 2023, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has announced.
He informed representatives of member states of the Alliance about the official dates of the summit on Wednesday.
“We are very proud to host a NATO summit in Vilnius, Hopefully, it will be a celebration of victory. For this to happen, we call on our partners not only to continue, but also to increase their support for Ukraine,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in comments sent to BNS.
President Gitanas Nauseda said in a Twitter post that he was looking forward to welcoming allies and like-minded partners in the Lithuanian capital.
“Facing Russia’s bloody war in Ukraine, we stand in unity and solidarity, committed to collective defense,” he wrote.
Landsbergis noted that the choice of Vilnius for the NATO summit highlighted the security of NATO’s eastern flank and sent a strong signal that ensuring the Baltic region's security was of importance for the entire NATO.
“At the same time, it is a recognition and evaluation of Lithuania as a reliable ally, which implements agreed commitments. Leaders from all NATO countries will gather in the capital of Lithuania and will take decisions relating to strengthening the security of all of us and our allies,” he said.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Stoltenberg also thanked Lithuania for its readiness to host this greatly important meeting.
The NATO summit will be held for the first time in Lithuania. It will bring together high-level delegations from NATO allies and partners, as well as a large number of international media representatives.
The Vilnius summit will focus on strengthening the Alliance’s collective defense and deterrence and on increasing support for Ukraine. To ensure that NATO remains the strongest defensive Alliance, allies will discuss defense investment priorities and needs.
It is expected that Finland and Sweden will participate in the summit as full-fledged members of the Alliance for the first time in Vilnius.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuania's Interior Ministry has proposed tightening the existing immigration and citizenship procedures to prevent nationals from countries hostile to Lithuania from entering as they might pose a threat to national security and public order.
"By tightening the legal regulation on immigration and citizenship procedures, we need to protect the country from individuals who may pose a threat to national security," Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said.
On Wednesday, her ministry said it had drafted changes to the interior minister's orders on the procedure of issuance of documents granting foreigners the right to stay or reside in Lithuania.
The proposed changes will introduce additional requirements to submit additional documents or information for certain categories of foreigners applying for a visa, residence permit or residence card for a family member of an EU citizen.
Moreover, the changes will step up the procedure of stripping a person of Lithuanian citizenship when a person acquires the citizenship of another country and does not fall under the list of exceptions where dual citizenship is allowed.
The Interior Ministry says the deadline for submitting documents for the possibility to have dual citizenship will be shortened from six to three months to prevent persons who do not have the right to be citizens of both Lithuania and another state from enjoying the rights and freedoms of citizens of both Lithuania and another state at the same time.
If a person fails to submit the requested documents to the Migration Department by the set deadline, the Migration Department will initiate the procedure of stripping that person of their Lithuanian citizenship.
Lithuania also supports Ukraine's initiative to create a pan-EU list of undesirable persons, Bilotaite said.
The Interior Ministry also says that Ukrainian law enforcement authorities have created various databases of unwanted persons from Russia and Belarus, and the lists include businessmen, politicians, artists and other people who pose a threat to Ukraine's national security, promote violence, support Russian military aggression and are in favor of overthrowing of Ukraine's legitimate government.
If appropriate international agreements are signed with Ukraine, the aforementioned persons would not be able to flee to Europe and thus potentially undermine institutions of EU member states.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has called on North Macedonia to support the initiative of the Baltic countries on setting up a special tribunal to investigate Russia's crimes of aggression in Ukraine.
The Lithuanian diplomacy chief hailed Skopje’s foreign policy as exemplary and urged the country “to support the initiative for the creation of a Special Tribunal to prosecute crimes of Russia's aggression”, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Wednesday.
“While on the path to the EU, you are already implementing an exemplary values-based policy, which sets a good example for others. We greatly appreciate your strong position and thank you for providing important assistance to Ukraine. Although our countries are small, working hand in hand we can significantly help the Ukrainians in their struggle,” Landsbergis said after his meeting with Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia.
The Lithuanian minister thanked North Macedonia for fully aligning with the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy decisions, imposing sanctions on Moscow, and its significant assistance to Ukraine, including military.
He also asked his North Macedonian counterpart to maintain a principled position on Russia's military aggression against Ukraine during the upcoming Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Following long talks with Bulgaria, North Macedonia started the opening phase of the accession negotiations with the European Union in July.
Previously, the government in Sofia blocked North Macedonia’s path to EU membership talks over the historical disputes between the two countries and a dispute concerning the rights of the ethnic Bulgarian minority.
Landsbergis called on North Macedonia to continue key reforms on its Euro-integration path and vowed strong support from Lithuania.
Foreign ministers also talked about the upcoming NATO Summit due to take place in Vilnius in 2023. North Macedonia joined NATO as its most recent member back in 2020.
In addition, the two ministers discussed the security situation in the Western Balkans, challenges in the energy sector, etc.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS - Lithuanian customs officers on Tuesday blocked a tank car with fertilizer to enter from Belarus as it had the letter Z, the symbol of Russia's military aggression in Ukraine, on it, the Customs Criminal Service said on Wednesday.
At around 15.30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, customs and border officers checked a train from Belarus at the Kena railway post. The Z symbol spotted on one of the tank cars, the service said.
The tank car was detained and sent back to Molodechno in Belarus.
According to the report, the sender of the shipment for a Lithuanian company was a Russian company.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has called on the West to restrict the supply of dual use products, which Iran could use to manufacture drones supplied to Russia that uses them to attack Ukraine.
“There are certainly no doubts that Iran is the manufacturer of the drones used against Ukraine. According to recent reports, Western technologies are used to manufacture drones. It means that it is possible to track and trace producers, it is possible to track and trace those supply chains, use this way to bring such activities to a stop and reduce possibilities to manufacture drones and supply them to Russia at least in the short-term or medium term,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
As reported on Tuesday, representatives of Ukraine's military intelligence obtained information that may indicate that Iranian drones were supplied to Russia after it invaded Ukraine on February 24.
According to the report, the Iranian-made Mohajer is assembled from parts produced in different countries, with most components being from the United States. In particular, the drone has an Austrian engine and a Japanese camera.
According to intelligence officers, no Russian parts were found in the drone: a visible range camera was made in Japan, a laser rangefinder was made in China, and an aerial bomb was produced in Iran.
“The European Union has not joined US sanctions but there is an area we could align or come up with identical sanctions – these are, specifically, the dual use products,” the Lithuanian minister said.
Ukrainian experts are investigating how come foreign-made parts were used in Iranian drones. Employees of the Main Intelligence Directorate have already transferred the serial numbers and data on the component manufacturers to the partner countries.
Kyiv claims around 400 Iranian drones have already been used against the civilian population of Ukraine and that Moscow has ordered around 2,000.
The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have already imposed sanctions on three Iranian generals and an arms firm accused of supplying Russia with drones.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuania has called on Minsk repeatedly to suspend operation of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (NPP) in Astravyets until all nuclear safety issues are resolved.
Lithuania’s State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) sent a respective letter to the Belarusian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES), which acts in Belarus as nuclear safety regulator, in late October.
“We do not receive information about the safety improvement measures implemented during the planned maintenance of the Unit 1 of the Belarusian NPP and the construction and commissioning of the Unit 2, therefore Lithuania's position does not change - the Belarusian NPP must not be operated until all safety issues are resolved,” VATESI head Michail Demcenko said in a press release on Wednesday.
In its letter to the MES, VATESI reminded that it still lacked specific information about the selection and evaluation of the nuclear facility’s construction site, about NPP equipment resistance to seismic events and to the effects of a large civil aircraft crash, implementation of stress tests recommendations, probabilistic safety assessment, fire hazard analysis and other safety assessment issues.
VATESI also called on the MES and other responsible Belarusian authorities to publish all international expert mission recommendations and their implementation results and once again reminded MES to provide additional information, which is necessary for more accurate forecasting of releases during possible accidents.
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS – Lithuania is late to submit its first request to the European Commission for the disbursement of hundreds of millions of euros from the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for the country’s important projects.
“The submission of the payment request has been postponed somewhat due to a delay in meeting certain indicators, which were to be reported [to the Commission] in the first payment request. We expect to form the request at the end of this year,” Finance Minister Gintare Skaiste told BNS on Wednesday.
The minister would not specify the indicators the government had failed to meet.
The government earlier planned to submit its first payment request under the RRF to the European Commission in September.
Vaidas Navickas, economic advisor to Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, said that failure to obtain planned European funds in due time might imply that the government would have to borrow from the market at higher rates.
“When interest rates are increasing, it would be costly for us to borrow that money … The longer we procrastinate, the more we’ll have to pay for those RRF funds, which we won’t receive,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Lithuania has been allocated a total of 2.225 billion euros in grants under the RRF, including 339 million euros for this year, more than 1.168 billion euros for 2023-2024 and another 600.1 million for 2025-2026.
Planned investment and reforms include seven components: a resilient healthcare sector, green transition, digital transition, good-quality education, innovation and higher education, an effective public sector, and social inclusion.
By Remigijus Bielinskas
Editor: Roma Pakėnienė
VILNIUS, Nov 09, BNS - Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda will on Thursday pay a two-day working visit to Poland where he will discuss support for Ukraine and regional security issues with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.
On the first day of his visit, Nauseda is scheduled to attend a second meeting of the Lithuanian-Polish Presidential Council to review bilateral relations, discuss ways to enhance support to Ukraine as it's fighting Russian aggression, defense and security cooperation, and cooperation under the Three Seas Initiative.
On Friday, Nauseda will attend events to mark Poland's Independence Day and will deliver a speech together Duda at a ceremony in Warsaw's Pilsudski Square, the Lithuanian president's spokesman Ridas Jasiulionis told BNS.
A separate program is planned for Lithuania's First Lady Diana Nausediene. She is scheduled to visit a charity center for Ukrainian families together with Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda. Nausediene will also meet with the staff of a Lithuanian-language school in Warsaw, representatives of the Center for Baltic Studies at the University of Warsaw and members of ta Lithuanian book lovers club in Warsaw.
Nauseda and Duda established the Lithuanian-Polish Presidential Council was in 2020 during the Polish president's visit to Vilnius to strengthen bilateral cooperation and cooperation within the EU and NATO.
VILNIUS, Nov 10, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Thursday, November 10, 2022:
PRESIDENT Gitanas Nauseda to meet with Speaker of Canada's Senate George J. Furey at 9.30 a.m.; to leave for a working visit to Poland.
SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen to attend a meeting of the Conference of Chairs at 8.30 a.m.; to attend a meeting of the Liberal Movement's political group in the Seimas at 9 a.m.; to chair the Seimas' morning sitting at 10 a.m.; to chair the Seimas' evening sitting at 2 p.m.
THE GOVERNMENT'S hour in the Seimas at noon.
FOREIGN MINISTER Gabrielius Landsbergis to pay a working visit to Berlin.