Report: Lithuania suggests sanctions against Russian nuclear sector
MOSCOW, Apr 4 (PRIME) -- A new Lithuanian bid to push the European Union to impose sanctions on Russia's nuclear energy industry includes proposed exemptions for Hungary and a two-year period to phase out existing contracts, according to a Reuters report quoting documents.
Unlike similar proposals by the E.U.'s Russia hawks earlier on, the latest plan from Vilnius includes a nuanced approach, an apparent attempt to win over sceptics in Budapest and elsewhere.
"It is proposed to introduce individual restrictive measures for Rosatom," says the policy proposal dated March 17, which has not been released publicly.
"In addition, it is appropriate to introduce a derogation on the basis of which operations, contracts or other agreements concluded with Rosatom could be still executed for a fixed period of time allowing European Union member states to complete the execution of these contracts or other agreements."
The document proposed setting that at two years.
The E.U. slapped 10 rounds of sanctions on Russia since the start of its special operation in Ukraine in Febraury, 2022, but hundreds of millions of euros worth of trade with Russia's nuclear energy industry has not been directly affected.
All E.U. countries must agree for the bloc to impose sanctions and Budapest - where Rosatom is to expand the Paks nuclear power plant - has vowed to oppose any curbs on Russian nuclear energy industry.
The Lithuanian proposal sought to address that by offering Budapest specific carve-outs of up to nine years for Paks.
Otherwise, the sanctions proposed by Lithuania would ban new investments in Russia's civil nuclear energy sector, prevent new cooperation agreements with Rosatom, and end imports of enriched uranium from Russia, with opt-outs for France and others who have running contracts there.
The detail of the proposal is reported here for the first time.
Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis spoke of it in broader terms on arriving for talks with his E.U. peers in Brussels on March 20. He said the plan amounted to "an onion approach".
"That means that it has a lot of layers to choose from. We can peel all those that we cannot... agree upon," he told reporters.
"But still there are things that we can sanction when it comes to board members, it can be new contracts, it can be a lot of things taking into consideration those countries who have existing contracts and existing projects that need to be safeguarded."