The Lithuanian movement will send a letter to Lukashenka, and a petition to the European Parliament.
On February 15, the first congress of the Movement against the Astravyets NPP was held in the Lithuanian Parliament. The first congress was attended by well-known Lithuanian and foreign politicians: Head of the restoration Seimas of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis, current Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis, former Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klymkin, MEP from Lithuania Piatras Austriavicius and others. Belarus was represented by Head of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Pavel Seviarynets, Head of the European Dialogue Center Anatol Liabedzka, and Head of the Belarusian Green Party Dzmitry Kuchuk, a Charter97.org correspondent reports.
Nobel laureate, writer Svetlana Alexievich greeted the participants of the first congress of the Movement against the Astravyets NPP by telephone. Alexievich noted that the Belarusian authorities learned zero lessons from Chernobyl. The Nobel laureate added that the Kremlin “still keeps us on a leash”, and one of the methods of influencing the Belarusian authorities may be the pressure from Western countries.
In his welcoming address, the first actual leader of Lithuania after the restoration of independence, Vytautas Landsbergis recalled that the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant was accompanied by many incidents, which are reported by the media and the State Department of Lithuania. The politician called the construction of the Belarusian NPP a hack, and noted that the many incidents that we know about are only the tip of the iceberg, since the Belarusian side and Rosatom are hiding some of the incidents that happened during the construction. “The pace of the construction there appears to be more important than people and safety,” Landsbergis said.
The movement against the Astravyets NPP aims to stop the construction of an unsafe plant, to ensure that the refusal to purchase electricity from it becomes a law not only in Lithuania, but throughout the European Union.
The position of the representatives of Belarus
Representatives of Belarus also spoke at the congress of the movement - Head of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Pavel Seviarynets, Head of the European Dialogue Center Anatol Liabedzka, and Head of the Belarusian Green Party Dzmitry Kuchuk. All of them thanked Lithuania for the initiative, and for the invitation to the forum.
“The Astravyets NPP is a Russian nuclear bomb that was planted under the very borders of the European Union - 45 km away from Vilnius. This is Putin’s strategic project in a hybrid nuclear war, with which he scares all of humanity. This project was made by the hands of dictator Lukashenka. Now in the West we hear confident voices: “Let's support Lukashenka, let's turn a blind eye to the Astravyets NPP, because Lukashenka is the guarantor of Belarus’s independence from the Kremlin.” In fact, Lukashenka is the guarantor of only his own dictatorial power,” Pavel Seviarynets, head of the Belarusian Christian Democracy, said in his speech.
Head of the European Dialogue Center Anatol Liabedzka noted in his speech that last year eight Belarusian parties signed a document recording positions with regard to the nuclear power plant. “This document is very in tune with what we are talking about here today,” the politician explained.
“If you go to the NPP, you will see a sign - “Belarusian NPP ”. It would be more correct to put another name - “The Putin-Lukashenka NPP”, because from the point of view of the future perspective - there is nothing Belarusian there. Only the taxpayers money comes from Belarus - the 10 billion loan, which our people will pay off. Today we see a problem not only for Belarusians, but for the entire EU population,” said Liabedzka.
Head of the Belarusian Green Party Dzmitry Kuchuk recalled that Belarus suffered most from the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but did not learn the proper lessons.
“Lukashenka, by his own decree, decided to build a nuclear power plant. The construction is carried out by contractors without an appropriate license, and this leads to unsatisfactory quality of work, the station has already taken away several lives. Belarus does not comply with the recommendations of the IAEA mission. Instead of solving problems, the authorities are engaged in idle chatter; there are no specialists in the country who can operate the station. We urge the international community to pay attention to this construction site, as it is a time bomb,” said Kuchuk.
Petition and letter to Lukashenka
The congress approved the text of the petition to the European Parliament, and the letter to Aliaksandr Lukashenka. The petition contains five basic demands:
- to adopt a resolution noting that the construction of the Astravyets NPP (reactor 1) has been followed by numerous violations and shortcomings, lack of respect for international standards for nuclear safety, serious safety violations and major incidents, the worst violation in the development of Astravyets NPP being the selection of an unsustainable site for its construction.
- to urge the nuclear regulatory authorities of Belarus not to issue an operational license for the Astravyets NPP that is being built on the wrong site. In case the Belarusian authorities and ROSATOM decide to continue with the construction of reactors 2, 3 and 4, the European Union should demand their relocation to another site (reactor 1 should be closed or, in the worst case, reallocated as well);
- to call on the European Commission and the Council to express full solidarity with Lithuania, which has declared the Astravyets NPP a threat to its national security, and to adopt laws banning the import of electricity generated in the Astravyets NPP;
- to urge the European Commission, the Council of the EU, associated countries and strategic partners of the European Union to consider sanctions against ROSATOM and other companies responsible for the construction of the Astravyets NPP and engaged in the marketing activities thereof;
- to speed up the synchronisation of the Baltic States with the Continental European Network as early as possible but no later than 2025, which would reduce Baltic’s states dependence on energy resources from Russia.
The full text of the petition is available here.
In addition to the petition, the delegates of the first congress of the Movement against the Astravyets NPP approved the text of the letter to Aliaksandr Lukashenka. “We suggest you not to promote the launch of the 1st unit of this nuclear power plant, ignoring international safety requirements and our good neighborliness; we propose to consider the issue of the nuclear power plant at the local level of the bilateral context of Belarus-Lithuania and Belarus-European Union relations,” the letter says.