Lithuania says Russian navy impeding Baltic power link

30th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

Lithuania on Thursday summoned the Russian ambassador, accusing the Kremlin's warships of thwarting work on a key underwater power link to Sweden that would reduce the Baltic state's dependence on Russian energy.

Lithuania's foreign ministry said the Russian navy has repeatedly tried to disrupt the laying of cable during Moscow's military drills in the Baltic sea.

"We think the Russian navy is violating the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and is impeding economic activity," Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP.

"Their manoeuvres are disrupting the work. We'd already sent three similar protest notes to Russia and never got a reply."

The state-owned energy company Litgrid said Russian warships on Thursday ordered a ship protecting the area to change course.

The Russian embassy in Vilnius was not immediately available for comment.

The 400-kilometre (250-mile) underwater cable link is expected to bring the Baltic EU states into the energy grid of their Nordic partners and reduce dependence on Russian supplies.

The link is estimated to cost 550 million euros ($615 million) and stretch from the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda to Nybro in Sweden. The start of the operation is scheduled for December 2015.

The incident comes two days after Finland said its navy had fired warning shots at a possible submarine off the coast of Helsinki.

The Baltic and Nordic countries have reported an uptick in Russian military activity in the region over the last year, including war planes flying with their transponders switched off.

© 2015 AFP

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