Week in Lithuania: President proposes life sentences for coup organisers; start-up PVcase secures investment

This week, the Bank of Lithuania reported that it managed to collect 100 thousand euros for Ukraine through the sale of the commemorative coin, while Lithuania will receive the first 300 million euros from the European Investment Bank.
President proposes life sentences for coup organisers
President Gitanas Nausėda will propose to the Seimas to introduce stricter penalties for crimes against the state, including life imprisonment. On Thursday, the 20th of July, the presidential office said it had drafted amendments to the Criminal Code, aimed at updating the definitions of crimes against the state and setting proportionate punishments for the most dangerous crimes that undermine Lithuania’s constitutional foundations. Under the draft, criminal liability would apply to the seizure, purchase, or other collection of official secrets and other information that could be used to undermine fundamental constitutional values, with the aim of transferring it to foreign intelligence authorities. Currently, the seizure of a state secret with the intent to transfer it to a foreign state is the only offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Red Cross condemns Belarusian organisation for bringing children from Ukraine
The Lithuanian Red Cross on Thursday, the 20th of July, condemned the Belarus Red Cross for bringing Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine to Belarus. The Lithuanian Red Cross says that it has urgently appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to take action to stop such activities. Both Ukraine and the Belarusian opposition have decried the transfer of Ukrainian children as unlawful deportations, and there have been calls for international war crimes charges for the authoritarian Belarus leader, Alexander Lukashenko, similar to the charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Army takes delivery of another 53 Peugeot Rifters, 34 Unimog trucks
A new batch of cargo trucks and multi-purpose vehicles has been delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, the 20th of July. Fifty-three Peugeot Rifter multi-purpose vehicles were handed over to the army. A total of 90 of these vehicles have been delivered to the Armed Forces so far, with the remainder expected to reach various army units by the end of the year. Lithuania is procuring a total of 235 vehicles of this type. The total value of the purchase amounts to nearly 6.5 million euros. The Lithuanian Armed Forces have also received 34 Mercedes-Benz Unimog trucks with a payload capacity of five tons. A total of 124 such vehicles are to be delivered under a contract signed in 2021.
PM discusses Ukraine support, regional security in Munich
Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė discussed cooperation with the German State of Bavaria, support for Ukraine, and regional security in Munich on Thursday, the 20th of July. During her two-day visit, the PM met with Prime Minister of Bavaria Markus Soder, President of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany Friedrich Merz, representatives of think tanks and experts, as well as business representatives. She and Soder discussed cooperation between Lithuania and Bavaria, the security situation in the region, support for Ukraine, bilateral relations between Lithuania and Germany and their development in the fields of economy, security and culture.
US destroyer visits Lithuania’s Klaipėda
USS Roosevelt, an American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, arrived in the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda on Wednesday, the 19th of July, the army said, adding that this is the ship’s second call at Klaipeda this year after it also visited the Lithuanian port in January. This time the ship’s visit has to do with the NATO summit that took place in Vilnius earlier this month. The ship’s Commander Jeffrey Chewning met with Lithuania’s Navy Commander Captain (Navy) Giedrius Premeneckas, Klaipėda Mayor Arvydas Vaitkus, and its crew were to take part in the ceremonial march of participants of the annual Sea Festival on late the 21st of July, and also partake in other events. The ship’s crew consists of more than 300 officers, NCOs and sailors.
Lithuania rejects Russia’s request to ease EU sanctions for Ukrainian grain exports
 Lithuania rejects Russia’s request to ease the existing EU sanctions in exchange for an agreement on the safe export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea. Lithuanian Foreign Vice Minister Jovita Neliupšienė, said: “I don’t think we should rush into making any concessions because if we give a finger, we will probably get our whole hand cut off.” She made the remarks as EU diplomatic leaders were due to discuss the war in Ukraine and the EU’s measures in Brussels later in the day. The Kremlin withdrew from this agreement earlier this week.
EIB disburses first €300 mn tranche for Lithuania‘s green and digital investment
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has disbursed to Lithuania the first €300-million tranche for green and digital investment. Lithuania will use the money to finance its national contribution to EU-funded priority projects, the EIB and the Finance Ministry said on Wednesday, the 19th of July. Lithuania and the EIB have signed a €300 million financing agreement to support investment in long-term competitiveness, job creation and the green and digital transitions in the 2021-2027 period. The loan is the first tranche of a €1-billion-euro EIB commitment to back investment targeting all regions of Lithuania.
President calls on Latin America not to be seduced by Russian propaganda
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda on Tuesday, the 18th of July, called on Latin American countries not to be seduced by Russian propaganda. He spoke in Brussels as leaders from the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) met for a second day, with diplomats struggling to agree on the language of a final communique as the summit highlighted differences over how to tackle Russia’s war in Ukraine and a handful of Latin American countries, notably Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, were opposed to agreeing a text holding Moscow responsible for the conflict. “Addressed #EU – #CELAC summit today. The main message to partners in Latin America & the Caribbean: don’t be seduced by Russian propaganda. Russia is not a victim – it is the aggressor,“ the Lithuanian leader said in a Twitter post, adding: “Ukraine is defending their freedom but also the entire rules-based international order.”
Start-up PVcase secures USD 100 mn investment
PVcase, a Lithuanian solar project design software start-up, has secured an investment of 100 million US dollars (approximately EUR 89 mn), the Verslo Žinios news portal reported on Tuesday, the 18th of July. The existing investor, US Fund Elephant Partners IV, and other US funds, Highland Europe and Energize Ventures, participated in the funding round. According to Unicorns Lithuania, the country’s start-up association, this is the second-largest investment in the history of Lithuania’s start-up sector. The company intends to use the investment for expansion and product development. Founded in 2017, PVcase has raised 123 million US dollars in investments since its launch. The company’s software helps make the design of solar farms more accurate and efficient.
Avia Solutions Group buys UK airline Synergy Aviation
Avia Solutions Group, an Irish-registered aviation business group owned by Lithuanian businessman Gediminas Žiemelis, has acquired Synergy Aviation, a UK-based airline operator that will later be rebranded to Ascend Airways. This is a strategic move for ASG as it plans to further expand in the UK, the group said in a statement, Jonas Janukėnas, CEO of Avia Solutions Group, said on Monday, the 17th of July.
Bank of Lithuania raises €100,000 for Ukraine via commemorative coin
The Bank of Lithuania raised 105,600 euros for Ukraine by selling commemorative coins and last week transferred the money to a special account opened by the Ukrainian national bank, the Lithuanian central bank said on Monday, the 17th of July. The funds will be used for humanitarian aid to the war-affected population of Ukraine. Since the coin was issued on the 16th of March, a total of 10,565 coins have been bought by Lithuanian and foreign citizens and companies. The total price of the commemorative coin is 14.52 euros, of which 10 euros is donated to support Ukraine.