Lithuania announced that it has cut off Russian gas imports, becoming the first European country to do so, in a move that country’s Energy ministry said was in response to “Russia’s energy blackmail in Europe and the war in Ukraine.” Lithuania used to be entirely dependent on Russian gas imports until the creation of the Klaipeda LNG terminal, which reduced the reliance on Russian gas pipelines and opened up the country to maritime LNG trade. By last year, Russian gas only accounted for about a quarter of the country’s imports, with most coming from the LNG terminal. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda tweeted out “From this month on – no more Russian gas in Lithuania. Years ago my country made decisions that today allow us with no pain to break energy ties with the agressor. If we can do it, the rest of Europe can do it too!”
In a post to their website, Lithuania’s Energy Ministry stated “All lithuanian gas demand is satisfied through klaipeda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. The official schedules planned by the liquefied natural gas terminal operator Klaipedos Nafta indicate that three large cargoes of liquefied natural gas will reach the terminal each month, which are planned to be enough for all customers. For the next period, customers have placed orders for gas transportation only from the terminal. If necessary, gas can also be delivered to Lithuania via the gas link with Latvia, and from 1 May – through the gas link with Poland.”
The ministry added that “In these circumstances, Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles is meaningless, as Lithuania no longer orders Russian gas and no longer plans to pay for it. In response, Russian gas supply company Gazprom informed Amber Grid that it no longer wants to import gas from Russia via the Lithuanian-Belarusian link.”
The announcement also comes as Conexus Baltic Grid, Latvia’s natural gas storage operator, announced that Estonia and Latvia have also stopped importing Russia gas, instead relying on Latvian gas reserves at this time, however, there has not been any announcements by the country’s governments. The rest of Europe remains heavily reliant on Russian gas, which makes up nearly half of its imports. No other European country has banned or cut off Russian gas imports despite pleas to do so over the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.