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LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN, October 24, 2022

LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN


IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. Upcoming events in Lithuania for Monday, October 24, 2022
  2. Belgian royal couple starting state visit to Lithuania  
  3. Lithuanian PM congratulates Italy's new PM, calls for united support for Ukraine
  4. Lithuanian parlt speaker receives Ukrainian state award
  5. Lithuania reports 38 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
  6. Foreign minister calls on Lithuanian diplomats, diaspora leaders to strengthen ties
  7. Lithuanian interior minister to discuss migration challenges in Prague
  8. NATO jets scrambled 4 times last week to patrol Baltic airspace, intercept Russian planes 
  9. President remains most popular politician in Lithuania, defmin 2nd
  10. Lithuanian SocDems top party rankings, conservatives in 2nd place – poll 
  11. Up to 1,000 people attended Lithuanian Family Movement rally in Vilnius
  12. Gender Equality Index: Lithuania posts highest increase but remains in 20th place
  13. War in Ukraine, climate crisis must lead to greener energy – Belgian king in Vilnius
  14. Lithuanian, Georgian defmins condemn Russian aggression
  15. Upcoming events in Lithuania for Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Upcoming events in Lithuania for Monday, October 24, 2022

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Monday, October 24, 2022:

VISIT OF THE KING OF BELGIUM

King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde of Belgium to arrive in Vilnius at 1 p.m.; the monarchs to be officially welcomed at the Presidential Palace at 2 p.m., an official photograph will be taken and the guestbook will be signed; a meeting of the Lithuanian and Belgian delegations at the Presidential Palace at 2.50 p.m.; Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and the King of Belgium's statements to the press at 3.40. p.m.; the King of Belgium to lay a wreath at the monument to those who died fighting for Lithuania's independence at Antakalnis Cemetery at 4 p.m.; President Gitanas Nauseda and First Lady Diana Nausedeiene to host a state dinner in honor of the visiting Belgian royal couple at 7 p.m.

PRESIDENT Gitanas Nauseda's interview for a Netflix documentary at 10.30 p.m.; to attend the official welcome ceremony for the King ad Queen of Belgium at the Presidential Palace at 2 p.m.; to receive the King of Belgium at 2.30 p.m.; a meeting of delegation of the Lithuanian and the King of Belgium at 2.50 p.m.; Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and the King of Belgium's statements to the press at 3.40. p.m.; President Gitanas Nauseda and First Lady Diana Nausedeiene to host a state dinner in honor of the visiting Belgian royal couple at 7 p.m.

SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen to meet with Serhij Holovaty, president of Ukraine's Constitutional Court, at 11 a.m.; to attend a state dinner in honor of the visiting Belgian royal couple at 7 p.m.

NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER Arvydas Anuauskas to pay an official visit to Georgia.

EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND SPORT MINISTER Jurgita Siugzdiniene to attend a meeting of the rectors of Belgian and Lithuanian universities at 3.30 p.m.

FOREIGN MINISTER Gabrielius Landsbergis and the King of Belgium to lay a wreath at the monument to those who died fighting for Lithuania's independence Antakalnis Cemetery at 4 p.m.;

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Belgian royal couple starting state visit to Lithuania  

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium on Monday are starting their three-day state visit to Lithuania with a meeting with President Gitanas Nauseda. 

The Belgian monarch will later go to the capital's Antakalnis Cemetery to lay a wreath at the monument to those who died in the struggle for Lithuania's Independence.

On Tuesday, King Philippe, together with Nauseda, will attend a Lithuanian-Belgian business forum before visiting the Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park.

The royal couple and the president and his wife, Diana Nausediene, will visit the Old Town of Vilnius and meet with students at Vilnius University.

On Wednesday, King Philippe and Nauseda are scheduled to visit Belgian troops at the Pabrade training area close to Vilnius.

The royal couple and the president and his wife are also scheduled to go to Kaunas, the 2022 European Capital of Culture, to see the city's Art Deco architectural heritage and visit the M. K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art.

Queen Mathilde will focus on culture and social issues during her visit.

On Monday, the queen and Nausediene are to visit the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. 

On Wednesday, they are scheduled to meet with Ukrainian war refugees at a Ukrainian center in Vilnius, and to visit Pirmas Blynas, a restaurant in the Lithuanian capital that hires people with disabilities to help them integrate into society.

The monarchs will be presented with the Order of Vytautas the Great for their personal contribution to the development of relations between Lithuania and Belgium as well as political, economic and societal cooperation between the two countries.

 

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Lithuanian PM congratulates Italy's new PM, calls for united support for Ukraine

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte has congratulated Giorgia Meloni on becoming Italy's prime minister and called for united support for Ukraine. 

"The Lithuanian government is ready to cooperate in strengthening the close and cordial partnership between our countries," she said in her message of congratulations published on Saturday.

"I hope that Lithuania and Italy, as well as other EU member states, will continue to stand united in our support for Ukraine as it defends its freedom and the freedom of other European countries."

According to Simonyte, the EU's consistent stance in tightening sanctions against Russia and Belarus is important to show that "Europe will not give in to the blackmail of the aggressor". 

The Lithuanian prime minister also thanked Italy for its contribution to NATO's air policing mission and the Alliance's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in the Baltic states.
Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni on Sunday took office as Italy's first woman prime minister,

By Milena Andrukaitytė

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Lithuanian parlt speaker receives Ukrainian state award

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, has been awarded the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of the second degree by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

"I see this award as an incentive to do even more for Ukraine's victory," Cmilyte-Nielsen said in a press release on Saturday. 

The speaker of the Seimas received the award for her personal contribution to strengthening cooperation between the states, supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state and promoting Ukraine in the world, according to the Lithuanian parliament's public relations office. 

 

 

By Milena Andrukaitytė

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Lithuania reports 38 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuania has recorded 38 new coronavirus infections and two deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, official statistics showed on Monday morning.

Of the new cases, 32 were primary, five were secondary, and one was tertiary.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 now stands at 123, including seven ICU cases.

The 14-day primary infection rate has edged down to 286.1 cases per 100,000 people, with the seven-day percentage of positive tests down to 26.3 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.

 

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Foreign minister calls on Lithuanian diplomats, diaspora leaders to strengthen ties

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for strengthening "the bonds of identity" that bind together Lithuanians around the world as he welcomed participants of last weekend's meeting of Lithuanian diplomats and diaspora leaders in Germany.  

"We, Lithuanians, understand better than anyone else the tragic nature of the events in Ukraine, because our own history has also been full of treacherous twists and turns," Landsbergis said in his welcoming message. 

"Today, when we have to defend and strengthen Lithuania's statehood in the face of nuclear and energy blackmail, it is important to remember that the strength of our nation lies in unity. Therefore, it is necessary to bolster the bonds of identity that bind us all together," he said. 

According to the Foreign Ministry, the meeting in Huettenfeld on October 21-23 brought together the heads of 23 Lithuanian diplomatic missions and consular offices and representatives of more than 20 diaspora organizations from 15 European countries. 

Among other things, Landsbergis thanked the Lithuanian diaspora for their active support to Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. 

 

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Lithuanian interior minister to discuss migration challenges in Prague

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite is taking part in a ministerial conference on migration challenges in Prague on Monday.

Participants of the conference are expected to approve a political declaration and an action plan for 2023-2027, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry has said in a press release.  

The Prague Process is one of the four EU regional cooperation processes on migration.

According to the ministry, these processes help to focus on the common specificities of a given region, to identify common interests and consolidate efforts in response to common challenges, to strengthen cooperation on migration management, and to assist EU partners in bolstering their capacities.

The Prague Process brings together EU member states, associated Schengen countries, and countries from Southeastern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Following the launch of Belarus-orchestrated hybrid attacks against Latvia, Poland and Lithuania, and later Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Prague Process countries have distanced themselves from cooperation with Russia and Belarus.

 

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NATO jets scrambled 4 times last week to patrol Baltic airspace, intercept Russian planes 

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – NATO's fighter jets were scrambled four times last week to patrol Baltic airspace and intercept Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea in violation of flight rules, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said on Monday.

NATO's jets took off twice, on October 17 and 18, to patrol along the Baltic airspace border with Russia and Belarus. 

Two alert scrambles were conducted, on October 20 and 21, to intercept Russian SU-30 planes flying from Kaliningrad Region to mainland Russia and back. 

Neither of the Russian aircraft used their onboard transponders, had pre-filed flight plans or maintained radio communication with the Regional Traffic Control Center.

The NATO Baltic air policing mission is carried out from air bases in Lithuania and Estonia.

 

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President remains most popular politician in Lithuania, defmin 2nd

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - President Gitanas Nauseda remains the most popular politician in Lithuania, followed by National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas according to the latest opinion poll carried out by Vilmorus for the Lietuvos Rytas daily and published on Saturday.

Conducted on October 11-16, the survey revealed than 60.8 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion about Nauseda, up from 56 percent in September. Meanwhile, the share of negative opinions about the president remained unchanged over a month at 20.9 percent.

Anusauskas comes in second with 47.5 percent of positive opinions, up from 47.1 percent in September) and 27.4 percent (26 percent in September) of negative opinions, which is the minister's best results so far, Vladas Gaidys, head of Vilmous, pointed out,

In his words, the defense ministers rating has not been affected by the recent controversy over the deployment of a German brigade, as well as the accusations from opposition politicians that the minister might have disclosed secret information to his wife.

"That's Anusauskas' highest score. In fact, the poll took place last wee when the brigade issue was already being discussed, and we had the wife situation there, but those things did not hurt him," Gaidys told BNS.

Vilija Blinkeviciute, leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, comes in third in terms of public popularity with 44.4 percent of positive opinions and 27 percent of negative ones, compared to 43.5 and 25.9 percent a month earlier respectively.

42.6 percent said they had a positive opinion about Remigijus Zemaitaitis, the leader of the Freedom and Justice party, compared to 42.3 percent in September, and 21.4 percent (25.2 percent in September) had a negative opinion about him.

Ex-Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who now leads the opposition Democrats "For Lithuania" closed the TOP-5 with 37.3 percent of positive opinion and 36.5 percent of negative opinions, from 36.6 percent and 39.2 percent in September respectively.

By Milena Andrukaitytė

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Lithuanian SocDems top party rankings, conservatives in 2nd place – poll 

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – The opposition Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) tops the country's political party rankings, followed by the ruling Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats in second place, according to a Vilmorus poll published by the daily Lietuvos Rytas on Saturday.

Some 14.9 percent of respondents said in mid-October that they would vote for the LSDP if general elections were held next Sunday, up from 14 percent who said so in September.

The conservative Homeland Union came in second with 11 percent, down from 11.8 percent a month ago. 

While the popularity of the opposition Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, at number three, increased slightly to 7.7 percent, from 7.3 percent, the opposition Democratic Union "For Lithuania", in fourth position, saw voter support edge down to 7.2 percent, from 7.7 percent. 

"There are no major changes, with the Social Democrats and the Homeland Union remaining steadily in the lead," Vilmorus CEO Vladas Gaidys told BNS, commenting on the results of the poll. 

"The second group, the Farmers and Greens and the Democratic Union, also have good results," he added. 

The poll, commissioned by Lietuvos Rytas, found the Freedom and Justice Party, which has a representative in the parliament, at number five with 5.9 percent support, slightly up from 5.4 percent in September.  

Vilmorus polled 1,002 residents of Lithuania between October 11 and 16. 

 

By Milena Andrukaitytė

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Up to 1,000 people attended Lithuanian Family Movement rally in Vilnius

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - Up to 1,000 people gathered in central Vilnius on Saturday to attend a rally organized by the controversial Lithuanian Family Movement, with a stated goal of defending the values enshrined in the country's Constitution.

"We want to ensure the Constitution is not violated as now there are violations everywhere, the Lithuanian language is being humiliated, we have introduced the letters q and w, and they want to adopt a law on families-non-families. People should vote on such a law in a referendum, and not by the Seimas gathered from some corners. LGBT people are also climbing over people's heads," Vytautas, a 68-year-old construction worker from Siauliai District, told BNS.

On Saturday, he joined other people in the Cathedral Square in central Vilnius, carrying Lithuanian national and historical flags, regional flags and posters.

The Lithuanian Family Movement's website stated that rally participants would speak out against the Law on Civil Union, which is now being debated in the Seimas, as well as the government's policies in the face of the sharp increase in energy prices.

Vitolda Rackova, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Family Movement, said the people who joined the rally "are doing the work the opposition in the Seimas should be doing".

"We don't have that opposition today, that's why you are here, but don't forget to demand that they do their job," she said, addressing the people from a stage.

The rally was held under the protection of a large police force, with the Seimas and the government buildings fenced off.

Renaldas Zekonis, chief of the Vilnius County Chief Police Commissariat, said no incidents were recorded during the rally.

By Giedrius Gaidamavičius, Milena Andrukaitytė

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Gender Equality Index: Lithuania posts highest increase but remains in 20th place

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - Lithuania's gender equality score rose the most over a year, but the country remains in the same 20th place.

Lithuania scored 2.2 points higher than last year in the latest Gender Equality Index published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), with an overall index score of 60.6.

Compared to other EU countries, Lithuania's score also increased the most. Despite this, Lithuania failed to move up in the index and lags behind the EU average of 68.6 out of a possible 100 points.

Lithuania's best score was in the area of work, where it scored 73.9 points and ranked 11th. This does not mean an improvement as the gender equality indicator in the area of work has even slightly decreased since 2019, Lithuania's Equal Opportunities ombudsman Birute Sabatauskaite said in a statement issued on Monday.

Lithuania's score in the area of knowledge went up by 1.5 points, mostly due to an improvement in the gender balance in higher and tertiary education.

Lithuania also scored higher in the area of power (up by 6.1 points), ranking 18th among EU member states. This change was driven by progress in the area political decision-making as this year, 42 percent of ministers and deputy ministers were women. At the highest level, however, equality is still very much lacking as women make 28 percent of lawmakers in Lithuanian, which is still below the EU average of 33 percent.

According to the report, EIGE data shows that Lithuania has a very pronounced gender gap in the area of money as women earned on average 11.1 percent less than men last year.

"Clearly, lower salaries also lead to lower pensions for women, which is reflected in poverty statistics. Last year, the poverty rate for women was 22.4 percent and 17.1 percent for men. Women aged 65 and over are the most deprived and make as much as 42 percent", B. Sabatauskaite said.

Last year 57 percent of Lithuanian women reported that they were taking care of their children alone or with little or no help from their partners or other persons, according to the EIGE data. The same was said by 13 percent of men.

Women were also more likely than men to provide long-term care for relatives with illnesses, disabilities or other special needs as 25 percent of women and 14 percent of men reported spending more than four hours a day doing so.

Housework was also the most common responsibility of women, with 70 percent of women and 8 percent of men stating that they did housework themselves. Sabatauskaite says the latest data shows that the pandemic further exacerbated gender inequalities that existed in the areas of housework and care.

Sweden (83.9 points), Denmark (77.8 points) and the Netherlands (77.3 points) scored the highest points in terms of gender equality, while Hungary (54.2 points), Romania (53.7 points) and Greece (53.4 points) were the bottom of the list.

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War in Ukraine, climate crisis must lead to greener energy – Belgian king in Vilnius

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - The ongoing energy crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine and climate change must lead to greener energy, King of Belgium Philippe said in Vilnius on Monday.

"The war in Ukraine and climate emergency must encourage as to speed up the energy transition and depart from fossil fuel," he said at the Presidential Palace.

In response to the EU sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has restricted the flow of natural gas to Europe, pushing up fossil fuel prices on the market. The West accuses Moscow of using energy as an instrument of political pressure.

In a joint statement with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, the king stressed that Russia's war in Ukraine "has brought us into a new era, an era that reminds us of the darkest pages of our continent's history".

As a result, he said, the EU and the rest of the world are also under pressure, especially poorer countries where the cost of basic necessities has risen sharply.

The king of Belgium underlined that through their commitments, NATO countries are defending "the peace project the European Union was built on".

For his part, President Nauseda voiced his appreciation for Lithuanian-Belgian security cooperation. The two leaders plan to discuss defense in more detail on Wednesday in Pabrade where Belgian troops are serving within the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group.

Bilateral cooperation in the areas of science, technology, trade, energy and culture are also expected to be discussed during the royal visit.

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Lithuanian, Georgian defmins condemn Russian aggression

VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian National Defense Arvydas Anusauskas met with his Georgian counterpart Juansher Burchuladze in Tbilisi on Monday and later issued a joint declaration condemning Moscow's aggression against Ukraine and Russia's occupation of part of Georgia's territory.

The ministers also discussed Russia's war against Ukraine and the need to fully support Ukraine, Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense said.

During the meeting, Anusauskas paid tribute to the 24 Georgians who fought and died fighting against Russian on Ukraine's side.

Georgia is one of the most important partners among Eastern Partnership countries and Lithuania fully supports Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration and is ready to continue to cooperate with Georgia in the area of defense and boost its contribution to NATO programs, Anusauskas underlined.

"We support Georgia's path of Euro-Atlantic integration and fully contribute with our experience and expertise to bring Georgia's Armed Forces closer to the Euro-Atlantic standards," the Lithuanian minister was quoted as saying in the ministry's statement.

He also urged Georgia to continue its reforms.

In Tbilisi, Anusauskas also visited the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center. Lithuania will strengthen its contribution to NATO program in Georgia, Anusauskas said.

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Upcoming events in Lithuania for Tuesday, October 25, 2022

VILNIUS, Oct 25, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Tuesday, October 25, 2022:

VISIT OF THE KING OF BELGIUM

PRESIDENT Gitanas Nauseda and the king of Belgium to welcome participants of a business forum at 9 a.m.; the king of Belgium to visit the Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park at 10 a.m.; the presidential and royal couple's tour of Vilnius Old Town and a visit to St. Michael's Church at 1.30 p.m.; the presidential and royal couple's meeting with students of Vilnius University at 3.10 p.m.; the king and queen of Belgium to host an event at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society at 7 p.m.

SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen to attend an international conference on the country's Constitution and transnational constitutionalism at 9 a.m.; to have lunch with the king queen of Belgium at 12.15 p.m.; to attend an event hosted by the king and queen of Belgium at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society at 7 p.m.

PRIME MINISTER Ingrida Simonyte to pay an official visit to Japan.

NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER Arvydas Anusauskas to continue his visit to Georgia.

INTERIOR MINISTER Agne Bilotaite to attend a ministerial conference on migrations, hosted by the Czech Republic which is now holding the rotating EU presidency.

 

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Oct 26 2022

LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN, October 14, 2022

LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN


IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. Upcoming events in Lithuania for Friday, October 14, 2022
  2. US defense secretary to meet with Bucharest Nine defense ministers 
  3. Lithuanian president, NATO chief to discuss support to Ukraine, situation in region
  4. Lithuanian interior minister to discuss migration situation with EU counterparts
  5. Lithuanian border guards prevent 37 migrants from crossing in from Belarus
  6. Lithuania reports 607 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death
  7. US battalion to be deployed to Lithuania through 2025 – minister 
  8. US battalion to be deployed in Lithuania through 2025 – minister (expands)
  9. First German howitzers reach Ukraine after repairs in Lithuania – minister   
  10. Savchuk appointed CEO of Lithuania's Lifosa (corrects)
  11. Lithuanian schools can take in 26,000 more Ukrainian children – ministry
  12. Half of cars in Vilnius could be electric by 2030 – mayor
  13. Bronze Age settlement found underwater in Lithuania
  14. 13 more Lithuanians, relatives move to Lithuania from Venezuela
  15. Supplying Ukraine with air defense systems is key to victory – Lithuania's Nauseda
  16. Lithuania-Poland unity in face of war is strength for whole region – Nauseda   
  17. Metropolitan Innokenty to continue to lead Orthodox Church in Lithuania
  18. Lithuanian president, NATO secgen talk Ukraine support, regional security

Upcoming events in Lithuania for Friday, October 14, 2022

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Friday, October 14, 2022:

PRESIDENT Gitanas Nauseda to have a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at 3 p.m.

SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen to chair a meeting of the Board of the Seimas at 9 a.m.

NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER Arvydas Anusauskas to attend a meeting of Bucharest Nine defense ministers and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

INTERIOR MINISTER Agne Bilotaite to attend a meeting of EU home affairs ministers in Luxembourg at 9 a.m.

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US defense secretary to meet with Bucharest Nine defense ministers 

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is to meet with the defense ministers of the Bucharest Nine countries in Brussels on Friday, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry has said.

The Bucharest Nine group is made up of nine NATO eastern flank nations: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Vilnius expects Austin to confirm the US commitment to an uninterrupted presence of American troops in Lithuania for the next few years.

"Throughout the year, we have been seeking a permanent and uninterrupted American presence in Lithuania, and we have been working hard on this in various formats," Laurynas Kasciunas, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, told BNS on Thursday.

"I am very confident that this is the message that will reach us on Friday," the MP said.

"I believe that there will be an uninterrupted presence of the battalion on a rotational basis, together with a higher combat readiness with more combat power," he added.

According to Kasciunas, the rotation of the American battalion and the assignment of the German brigade to Lithuania are a key deterrent against enemies.

US battalions have been rotating in Lithuania since 2019. Rotational companies were deployed to the country between 2014 and 2017.

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Americans reinforced their rotational battalions by sending in more troops and equipment.

In June, some 800 soldiers from the United States Army's 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment with combat equipment began their rotation of at least nine months in Lithuania.

 

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Lithuanian president, NATO chief to discuss support to Ukraine, situation in region

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda is to have a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday to discuss further assistance to Ukraine in its war against Russia, and the security situation. 

Ridas Jasiulionis, Nauseda's spokesman, has told BNS that the two officials will discuss "support for Ukraine and the security situation in the region".

Ukraine's supporters met in Brussels this week in the so-called Ramstein format.

Lithuania announced plans to send self-propelled mortars, armored vehicles and other equipment to Ukraine. 

The country's military assistance to Ukraine has so far included Stinger air defense systems, anti-tank weapons, armored vests and helmets, 120 mm mortars, small arms, ammunition, thermal imaging cameras, drones, anti-drones, surveillance radars, M113 armored personnel carriers, trucks, and all-terrain vehicles, according to the Defense Ministry.

Lithuania is also considering sending PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers and NASAMS air defense systems to Ukraine.

In response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, NATO has agreed to beef up its presence on its eastern flank and develop brigade-size units in these countries if needed.

Lithuania has agreed with Germany on the assignment of such a brigade, but is seeking a clear commitment from Berlin to permanently deploy this military unit in the country.

 

By Saulius Jakučionis

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Lithuanian interior minister to discuss migration situation with EU counterparts

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite is taking part in a meeting of the EU's Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Friday.

At the meeting, the European Commission will brief the ministers on the migration situation and the so-called Schengen barometer, and Frontex, the bloc's border agency, will present its strategic risk analysis for the next decade, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry has said.

The ministers will also seek consensus on EU migration policy issues, discuss more effective border management, member states' readiness to take in Ukrainian war refugees in winter conditions, and the impact of the war on the EU's internal security, according to the ministry.

„"Adapting the EU's legal framework to the new realities is a key priority for us. As the hybrid attack continues and is unlikely to end any time soon, we will reiterate the importance of establishing a clear legal framework for effective control of external borders and to prevent the abuse of the EU asylum system," Bilotaite said.

"It is also necessary to distinguish between natural and instrumentalized migration and to apply appropriate measures," she added. 

Almost 4,200 irregular migrants crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally last year.

Lithuanian border guards have turned over 17,200 people back to Belarus since August 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.

Vilnius calls the influx of migrants from Belarus a "hybrid attack" by the Minsk regime. 

 

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Lithuanian border guards prevent 37 migrants from crossing in from Belarus

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – Lithuanian border guards have in the past 24 hours turned away 37 migrants attempting to cross into the country from Belarus illegally, the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) said on Friday morning.

Latvia recorded no attempts to cross the border illegally on Thursday, and Polish border guards denied entry to 69 irregular migrants away on Wednesday, 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 9,216 irregular migrants have been stopped from entering Lithuania since January. 

Lithuanian border guards have sent over 17,300 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. 

 

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Lithuania reports 607 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – Lithuania has recorded 607 new coronavirus infections and one death from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, official statistics showed on Friday morning.

Of the new cases, 480 were primary, 119 were secondary and eight were tertiary.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 now stands at 179, including 12 ICU cases.

The 14-day primary infection rate has edged down to 372.9 cases per 100,000 people, with the seven-day percentage of positive tests down to 30.5 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.

 

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US battalion to be deployed to Lithuania through 2025 – minister 

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – The United States' battalion will be deployed to Lithuania until the end of 2025 after Washington has approved a rotational force plan for the Baltic states, Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said on Friday. 

"The US is approving its rotational force plan for the Baltic countries and Lithuania, and the US battalion with reinforcements will be stationed in the country through 2025," he told BNS by phone from Brussels.  

Anusauskas was speaking after Friday's meeting between NATO's nine eastern flank nations and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

 

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US battalion to be deployed in Lithuania through 2025 – minister (expands)

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – A US battalion will be deployed in Lithuania until the end of 2025 after Washington has approved a rotational force plan for the Baltic states, Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said on Friday. 

"The US is approving its rotational force plan for the Baltic countries and Lithuania, and the US battalion with reinforcements will be stationed in the country through 2025," he told BNS by phone from Brussels.  

Anusauskas was speaking after Friday's meeting between NATO's nine eastern flank nations and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

"Since the US is sending a full combat battalion and reinforcement units, the number may vary, but it is between 600 and 800 troops," the Lithuanian minister said.

US battalions have been rotating in Lithuania since 2019. American rotational companies were deployed to the country between 2014 and 2017.

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US reinforced its rotational battalions by sending in more troops and equipment.

In June, some 800 soldiers from the United States Army's 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment with combat equipment began their rotation of at least nine months in Lithuania.

Also, a German-led 1,500-strong multinational battalion has been stationed in Lithuania since 2017.  

The forward command element of a German brigade assigned to Lithuania has been based in the Baltic country. Lithuanian officials expect the brigade, which consists of several thousand troops, to be permanently deployed in the country in the future.

 

 

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First German howitzers reach Ukraine after repairs in Lithuania – minister   

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – The first German PzH 2000 howitzers repaired in Lithuania for Ukraine have arrived in the country that is fighting back against Russia's invasion, Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said on Friday.  

"I can only say that the first repaired howitzers have reached Ukraine and that we are going to continue this work," he told BNS.

The minister tweeted a picture of a military truck with a howitzer on its platform crossing the Lithuanian border with Poland.

"PzH2000 repaired in Lithuania are being returned to the battlefield in Ukraine. Good luck!" he wrote.   

Anusauskas said earlier that about one-third of the howitzers provided for Ukraine were being repaired in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian Armed Forces also have this type of artillery weapons.

 

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Savchuk appointed CEO of Lithuania's Lifosa (corrects)

(corrects Savchuk's name and position at EuroChem) 

VILNIUS, Oct 13, BNS – Andrej Savchuk, a former member of the management board at Lifosa and an employee of EuroChem, its shareholder, has been appointed CEO of the Lithuanian phosphate fertilizer plant that has suspended its operations due to sanctions against Russia.

He has worked for Germany's Helm AG Group for the past two years.

Savchuk will assume his new position after the Lithuanian authorities will complete the necessary formalities. His appointment has already been approved by Lifosa's interim administrator, the company said. 

Savchuk has worked in the fertilizer sector for 25 years, the company said, adding that his main goal is to restore safe and sustainable production and sales activities, the company statement reads.

Savchuk worked for EuroChem from 2007 to 2020, holding various executive positions. He served as a board member at Lifosa from 2015 to 2020.

Lifosa's accounts were frozen on March 9 after the EU imposed sanctions for Andrey Melnichenko, a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin, and the company suspended its operations April 10. On May 24, a temporary administrator, Finance Guru, was appointed to ensure that Lifosa's operations remain in line with the existing international sanctions.

 

 

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Lithuanian schools can take in 26,000 more Ukrainian children – ministry

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – Lithuanian schools can still take in up to 26,000 more Ukrainian children who have fled the war and taken refuge in the country, Education, Science and Sport Minister Jurgita Siugzdiniene said on Friday. 

The number of children from Ukraine registered with Lithuanian educational establishments totaled over 13,000 as of this week, the ministry said in a press release, noting that although the peak of refugee arrivals was recorded in spring, Ukrainians are still coming to Lithuania every week.

About 3,000 places for Ukrainian children are still available at Lithuanian kindergartens, it said.

On Thursday, the ministry hosted a live webcast for Ukrainian families to inform them about what educational services are available to Ukrainian children in Lithuania, and on how education, admission to universities and vocational training institutions, and assistance will be provided.

According to Siugzdiniene, the main goal is to make sure that Ukrainian children feel good in schools and part of the community. 

"I want to encourage everyone not to hesitate and to register for school, including children who are studying remotely in Ukrainian schools," the minister said in the press release. 

"Last week, I met with Ukraine's minister of education and science, and I am conveying his greetings, as well as his encouragement to register in schools, because this is an opportunity for children not only to study at school, but also to learn Lithuanian and make friends," she added. 

Based on information from the European Commission's Eurydice network as of 2022, Lithuania is one of nine countries that have successfully helped more than half of the children and young people who have arrived to integrate into general education schools. 

Ukrainians attend Lithuanian or national minority schools, or study remotely in schools approved by the Ukrainian state, or in Ukrainian schools that have received permission from the ministry to teach the Ukrainian curriculum. There are four such schools in Lithuania and the number is likely to increase.

A total of 68,000 Ukrainian refugees are officially registered in Lithuania and around 18,500 of them are of school age, according to the country's statistics office. 

 

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Half of cars in Vilnius could be electric by 2030 – mayor

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – The Vilnius authorities aim to make sure that about half of all cars in the Lithuanian capital are electric by 2030, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simsius says, adding that there are plans to install some 2,000 charging stations on street light poles for them.

"Electric cars are the future. Our goal is to ensure that at least half of all cars in Vilnius are electric by 2030. Today, they make just over 1 percent. To achieve that, we need to make it convenient to charge an electric car," Simasius told reporters on Friday, presenting a plan for the development of slow-charging stations to be installed within the street lighting network.

There are now 9 such stations installed in Vilnius, and there are plans to install around 120 more fast and medium charging stations, the mayor said.

The goal is to install 100 slow charging stations on street light poles by the end of 2023, and to have at least 2,000 of them by 2030 in the capital's public spaces and closer to people's homes.

By Giedrius Gaidamavičius

Editor: Roma Pakėnienė

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Bronze Age settlement found underwater in Lithuania

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS - A Bronze Age settlement has been discovered underwater in Lake Belys in Lithuania's Svencionys District, archaeologists say.

They found pile structures near the island and beams of wooden buildings scattered in the lake during sonar exploration of the lake's bed.

"Three rows of wooden piles were found on the submerged slope of the island, which is likely to be a defensive barrier protecting the access to the settlement on the island. Among the piles, many shards of striated pottery, animal bones used for food and burnt stones were found," the statement reads.

Archaeologists believe the island was the site of a fortified settlement from the late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age. Over time, the water level rose and some parts of the settlement structures went underwater, and wood and organic matter survived well in the wet environment.

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13 more Lithuanians, relatives move to Lithuania from Venezuela

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS - Another 13 people of Lithuanian descent and their family members have moved to Lithuania from Venezuela. They arrived in Vilnius on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said.

The people were met by representatives of a Refugee Center who arranged temporary accommodation for them. Later on, the resettled persons will be provided allowances to cover settlement costs and basic needs, and, assistance will be provided regarding children's education, learning Lithuanian, finding employment, etc.

A total of 118 people have already been resettled from crisis-hit Venezuela.

"They have already settled in various Lithuanian cities, are working, studying and successfully integrating into the society," the report says, adding that around 40 more people are still waiting to move to Lithuania.

People's departure from Venezuela is hampered by problems due to invalid travel documents, health problems, Venezuelan bureaucratic obstacles and the existing movement restrictions in the country, the Foreign Ministry said.

The resettlement program for persons of Lithuanian descent and their family members from crisis-hit Venezuela has been running since September, 2019.

The Lithuanian community in Venezuela consists of around 400 people of Lithuanian descent. Some 1,000 Lithuanian citizens of people of Lithuanian descent are estimated to live in Venezuela.

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Supplying Ukraine with air defense systems is key to victory – Lithuania's Nauseda

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda had a phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday and said that supplying Ukraine with air defense systems was key to the protection of civilians and the country's victory over Russian aggression.

"Ukraine's success in regaining the territories seized by Russia is a testimony to the heroism and unbreakable will of the Ukrainian people. I believe that with the West's swift assistance, you will succeed in pushing the aggressor out of your territories. Supplying Ukraine with air defense systems is a prerequisite for the protection of civilians and for achieving victory," Nauseda was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the presidential press service on Friday.

According to the Lithuanian president, this is "a struggle for peace and freedom for all of us, and Lithuania will support Ukraine until victory".

The West's rapid military support to Ukraine is of utmost importance, the Lithuanian leader said, adding that Lithuania will continue to actively call for increasing military assistance in all international formats, as well as for economic and financial assistance to Ukraine.

The Lithuanian and Ukrainian leaders also discussed Belarus' involvement in Russia's war in Ukraine. Nauseda noted that Belarus should be seen as Russia's full-fledged ally taking part in its military aggression in Ukraine. Therefore, Nauseda underlined, the existing Western sanctions must be tightened for both Russia and Belarus to prevent any possibility for them to circumvent them.

The Lithuanian president also congratulated his Ukrainian counterpart and all the people on the Day of Defenders of Ukraine.

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Lithuania-Poland unity in face of war is strength for whole region – Nauseda   

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – The unity of Lithuania and Poland in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine is a great strength and their coordinated approach is a significant factor in the region's security, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Friday. 

Nauseda said in a press release after his phone call with Polish President Andrzej Duda that a consistent increase in defense spending by Lithuania and Poland "will have a positive impact on the region's defense capabilities".

This also sends a strong message to allies that the two countries are serious about security and defense, according to the Lithuanian president.

"The united voice of Lithuania and Poland in the context of Russia's war in Ukraine is our great strength," he said. 

"Together, we can both significantly improve the region's defense capabilities and more effectively help Ukraine in countering Russia's military aggression."

The Lithuanian and Polish leaders discussed the need to mobilize Western support for Ukraine and to tighten sanctions against Russia and Belarus.  

As Belarus is getting increasingly involved in Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, it has to be considered a full-fledged participant in the conflict, meaning that the existing sanctions against Minsk have to be expanded and its responsibility has to be discussed, according to Nauseda.   

 

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Metropolitan Innokenty to continue to lead Orthodox Church in Lithuania

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS - Metropolitan Innokenty will continue to lead the Orthodox Church in Lithuania after by the Moscow Synod left him in the position on Thursday.

"The Holy Synod has decided to bless Metropolitan Innokenty of Vilnius and Lithuania to continue to lead the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese," representatives of the Lithuanian Orthodox Church said in a statement on Friday.

Metropolitan Innokenty has reached the age of 75 and, under the existing procedure, all hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate are required to apply to become emeritus after reaching this canonical age, and it's up to the Synod to decide whether to accept or refuse this request.

Leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed their support for the country's war against Ukraine, sparking to international criticism and forcing the EU to consider possible sanctions for  Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. The move, however, was dropped at the last minute in June following objections from Hungary.

As some Lithuanian Orthodox priests slammed the Kremlin's invasion, Metropolitan Innokenty unfrocked four priests in late June as they were found guilty of canonical crimes.

The priests claimed the move was made in retaliation for their criticism of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which is backed by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The leadership of the Orthodox Church in Lithuanian says it condemns Russia's started war and says it has informed Moscow about it. This is why it denies the accusations made by the breakaway priests.

The unfrocked priests and some other Lithuanian Orthodox priests are asking the Patriarch of Constantinople to allow Lithuanian to restore its canonical subordination to him.

In response, the Lithuanian Orthodox Church has spoken publicly about its desire for greater autonomy. In July, Orthodox Bishop Amvrosijus met with Patriarch Kirill and later told reporters in Vilnius he had received a positive reaction from the patriarch to the proposal to grant the Lithuanian Orthodox Archdiocese the status of a self-governing church. The bishop then expressed his hope the request would be considered by the next Synod scheduled to meet in early August.

By Ignas Jačauskas

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Lithuanian president, NATO secgen talk Ukraine support, regional security

VILNIUS, Oct 14, BNS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda had a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday and discussed the regional security situation, ways to bolster the defense of NATO's eastern flank, as well as support to Ukraine.

During the conversation, Nauseda stressed that Russia is escalating its war in Ukraine by all means, the presidential press service said.

In his words, reports of a possible increase in the number of Russian troops deployed in the Belarusian territory and Belarus' possible direct involvement in Russia's military aggression against Ukraine is raising concern, the Lithuanian president said.

"Russia’s actions in escalating the war in Ukraine mean one thing only: NATO allies must be united as a fist and increase their support for Ukraine," the president said.

He called for a further increase in defense capability on NATO's eastern flank and also stepping up the transition from deterrence to forward defense.

The decisions made at the Madrid Summit must be implemented consistently to demonstrate the allied commitment to collective security and undivided unity, Nauseda underlined.

He also stressed the need to increase the air defense capability in the Baltic region and to supply air defense systems to Ukraine urgently, the presidential press service said.

"Lithuania takes national security very seriously and consistently increases its defense spending. We are committing significant resources to infrastructure development so we can host more allied troops in our territory," the president said. "We welcome the effective cooperation with Germany on this issue and look forward to the deployment of a full German brigade in Lithuania in the near future."

The Lithuanian president and the NATO secretary general also discussed the upcoming NATO Summit to be held in Vilnius next year, with Nauseda stressing that Lithuania is looking forward to an ambitious outcome of this meeting.

In response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, NATO agreed to reinforce its presence in NATO's eastern flank and to build allied brigades in countries, if needed.

Lithuania agreed on the development of such a brigade with Germany, but is now seeking a clear commitment from Berlin to permanently deploy such a military unit in the country.

 

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Oct 17 2022

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