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2019.11.12 12:00

Belarus' nuclear plant becoming Russian influence tool, aide to Lithuanian president says

BNS2019.11.12 12:00

Belarus should see Russia's attempts to use the Astravyets nuclear plant as a political tool, and delay the launch until all stress test recommendations have been implemented, an adviser to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Tuesday. 

"We [...] can see that decisions to bring in fuel [...] and launch the power plant keep being put off," Jaroslav Neverovič told Žinių Radijas radio station.

"We believe that these decisions should be postponed altogether until all stress test recommendations made to Belarus by EU experts have been implemented," he added.

According to the adviser, the Astravyets plant is becoming Moscow's tool for influence and a Russian project, which should be cause for concern to Belarus.

"I think it should be noted here that it is in Belarus' own interest to see that process and not yield to it," he said.

In 2017, the Lithuanian parliament passed a law declaring the Astravyets plant a threat to national security, environment and public health. It has also adopted a law banning electricity imports from unsafe plants.

The government says the Astravyets plant under construction some 50 kilometers from Vilnius fails to meet international safety standards, an allegation that Minsk denies.

Belarus says nuclear fuel for the plant's first reactor will be delivered by the end of the year and the facility will be launched next January.