Monsters and Critics.com
May 13, 2008, 11:05 GMT
Vilnius – Ukraine is prepared to participate in the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Tuesday in Vilnius.
‘Ukraine is interested in developing bilateral cooperation with Lithuania,’ Yushchenko said, adding the former Soviet republic is also interested in taking part in decommissioning of the Soviet-built Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant in north-central Lithuania, according to Leta news agency.
Yuschenko’s remarks came after a meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas during his visit to the Baltic nation.
The three Baltic states and Poland plan to build a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania in the next decade to offset the region’s dependence on Russia.
When Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant shuts down at the end of 2009 as demanded by the European Union, the Baltic nations would be forced to seek alternative sources of energy, including turning to Russia.
The two Soviet-built nuclear reactors at Ignalina in Lithuania are similar in design to reactors at the Ukraine’s Chernobyl, which saw the most devastating nuclear plant meltdown in 1986.
Lithuania – along with the other two Baltic European Union members of Latvia and Estonia – seek to thwart their dependence on Russian sources of energy for fear the Kremlin would use energy to seek political influence in the region as it did in Ukraine in 2005.
Gazprom totally severed gas supplies to Ukraine leading to a reduction of gas volumes to Europe and price hikes as far away as France, after the Ukrainians began siphoning gas destined for Europe.
On Monday, the residents of Ukraine and Lithuania signed a declaration on strategic partnership on issues related to European integration, integration in NATO and foreign policy.