Week in Lithuania: Lithuanian Post to buy electric cars; tank will remain in place

Linas Jegelevičius
This week, Lithuania felt the approach of spring – new plans are being forged and the previous ones continued, and Lithuania’s largest producer of nitrogen mineral fertilizers is also ready to resume work.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister meets with Israeli PM Netanyahu
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for Israel’s increased support for Ukraine as he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Friday, the 3rd of March. In Tel Aviv, Landsbergis also met with Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer to discuss the security situation in Europe, the Middle East, and the efforts of the international community to strengthen the rules-based order. Before the trip to Tel Aviv, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister paid a visit to Palestine on Wednesday, the 1st of March. Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Defence Ministry and the Israel National Cyber Directorate on Thursday signed an agreement providing for bilateral expert consultations and cooperation in strengthening the resilience of the countries’ critical infrastructure.
Lithuania adds 334 new COVID-19 cases
Lithuania recorded 334 new coronavirus infections and no deaths from COVID-19 over Thursday, the 2nd of March, the country’s National Public Health Centre, said on Friday, March 3. Of the new cases, 229 were primary, 96 were secondary, eight were tertiary, and one was quaternary. The 14-day primary infection rate has edged up to 158.7 cases per 100,000 people, with the seven-day percentage of positive tests at 22.2 percent. About 1.18 million people in Lithuania have tested positive for COVID-19 at least once.
Achema is set to partly resume production next week
 Lithuania’s nitrogen fertiliser manufacturer Achema will next week partly resume fertiliser production, which has been suspended since December. In mid-December, the company suspended ammonia production in response to rising natural gas prices but continued to produce saltpeter and resins. Earlier Achema planned to resume ammonia production in early February. However, Ramūnas Miliauskas, the company’s CEO, then said that the company postponed its previous plans to resume ammonia production in early February due to low demand.
Lithuanian Post plans to buy 100 electric minivans
Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post) is planning to purchase 100 electric minivans, each costing between 20,000 and 30,000 euros, by the end of this year for delivering parcels and letters in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipėda, Lietuvos Paštas CEO Rolandas Žukas said on Thursday, the 2nd of March. Thus, the state postal company aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 15 percent by the end of 2023. The company later said that it expects to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025 relative to 2020 levels. The electric vans may cost Lietuvos Paštas 2 million euros in total.
President says he has confidence in intelligence chief
 President Gitanas Nausėda said on Thursday, the 2nd of March, he has confidence in Darius Jauniškis, director of the State Security Department (VSD), despite revelations in a book by two journalists about the circumstances of the intelligence agency’s work. The president said that the parliament is free to set up commissions to look into the circumstances of the department’s work, but added that MPs should take interest in all areas. In their recently-published book, journalists Dovydas Pancerovas and Birutė Davidonytė cite the testimony of a whistleblower, then a high-ranking intelligence official, that the VSD leadership gave verbal instructions to vet the team of Nausėda, then a presidential candidate. These and other circumstances mentioned in the book have prompted some politicians to demand a parliamentary inquiry.
Grigeo Klaipėda offers a deal to compensate for environmental damage
Grigeo Klaipėda, a Klaipėda-based cardboard producer that is part of the Grigeo Group, said on Wednesday, the 1st of March, it offers to remove the pollutants from the Curonian Lagoon and modernize the port city’s sewage treatment plant to compensate for 48 million euros in environmental damage it caused by releasing untreated wastewater into the body of water. The company said it has drawn up an environmental remediation plan and proposed to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to settle the dispute, which has already been brought before a court, amicably. Grigeo Klaipėda CEO Tomas Eikinas says the damage to the environment would be eliminated by removing the pollutants from the Curonian Lagoon. The plan involves cutting down pollutant-accumulating reeds in the Curonian Lagoon and modernizing the surface water treatment plant of Klaipėdos Vanduo (Klaipėda Water). The EDP has filed a 48-million-euro civil lawsuit against Grigeo Klaipėda as part of a criminal case concerning the pollution of the Curonian Lagoon.
LTG supports the idea of eliminating freight from Russia, Belarus
Egidijus Lazauskas, CEO of the state-owned railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG) said on Wednesday, the 1st of March, the company supports the idea of completely stopping handling freight from Belarus and Russia. However, a complete withdrawal from these markets would only be possible if LTG was unable to control shipments of sanctioned goods to Lithuania, according to Lazauskas.
Lithuania, Sweden eyeing new shipping lines
Lithuania and Sweden plan to open new shipping lines between Klaipeda and Stockholm and also intend to join forces to implement development and greening projects in the Lithuanian seaport, the Transport Ministry said on Wednesday, the 1st of March, following the meeting of Lithuania’s Transport Minister Marius Skuodis and Sweden’s Infrastructure Minister Andreas Carlson in Stockholm. The Lithuanian minister in particular mentioned discussions about the possibilities to open a passenger and cargo (ro-ro and ro-pax) shipping line between Stockholm and Klaipeda. Some 3.74 million tons of cargo were shipped between Klaipeda and Sweden’s ports in 2022, up from 3.61 million tons in 2021. Regular cargo and passenger ferry service connects Klaipeda with the Swedish ports of Karlshamn and Trelleborg.
Vilnius will not remove the Russian tank despite provocations
Lithuanian authorities are not planning to fence off or remove a destroyed Russian tank on display in central Vilnius, despite provocations, Kamilė Šeraitė, advisor to Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said on Tuesday, the 28th of February. In Vilnius, the trophy tank, loaned by Ukraine as a museum exhibit, was spray-painted on Tuesday night. A 36-year-old man who did it was detained by the police for disorderly conduct. Advisor said the incident did not cause serious damage to the tank, adding that Lithuania’s Vytautas the Great War Museum will compensate the Kyiv War Museum for the damage if any is found. The advisor said she did not know what had been spray-painted on the tank, adding that she had no further details about the incident.  The tank was apparently spray-painted when military police officers were a few meters away from the spot, according to Šeraitė. Ukraine’s war trophy tank has been on display in a car park near the Cathedral Square in Vilnius since last Friday and is planned to remain there until the 16th of March.