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Week in Lithuania: President pardoned two Russian spies, climate action plan approved and bomb defused

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Nikolai Filipchenko Sergey Moiseyenko spying Gitanas Nausėda Lietuvos Geležinkeliai

Last week, in Lithuania, the key news stories were a presidential pardon to Russian spies, the approval of a climate change action plan getting approved and the start of a mission of the International Monetary Fund.

President pardons two Russian spies

President Gitanas Nausėda has granted pardons to two Russian citizens jailed in Lithuania for espionage, opening the way for a prisoner swap with Moscow. Nikolai Filipchenko and Sergey Moiseyenko were both were convicted of spying in 2017 and are currently serving prison sentences in Lithuania. The decrees were signed on Thursday and published on Friday, November 15. Under the deal, Moscow should issue pardons to Yevgeny Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis, two Lithuanian citizens convicted in Russia in 2016. Tamosaitis was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Moscow court. A Kaliningrad court handed a 13-year prison sentence to Mataitis, a dual Lithuanian-Russian citizen

IMF mission begins work in Lithuania

An IMF mission, led by Borja Gracia, started work in Lithuania on Friday, November 15, the central Bank of Lithuania said. The IMF experts will analyse the general macroeconomic situation in Lithuania, its economic development patterns, the situation in the financial system, the draft state budget for the upcoming year, social policy measures and development of innovative financial technologies.

President, Japanese delegation discuss investment opportunities

President Gitanas Nausėda on Friday, November 15, met with representatives of the Keidanren Japan Business Federation uniting 1,600 industrial companies in Japan and introduced them to investment opportunities in Lithuania. Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas and Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič also met with the Japanese representatives.

Aviation bomb found and defused in Vilnius

An aviation bomb was found and later neutralised in the affluent Žvėrynas area of Vilnius on Thursday, November 14. Bomb disposal specialists removed the bomb’s fuse, which was in the active position and pose threat, after 11 p.m. Buildings and streets as well as a shopping mall had to be evaluated after the bomb was discovered. The bomb was found during excavation work some three meters deep in an area where a building used to stand.

Credentials from new ambassadors received

President Gitanas Nausėda on Thursday, November 14, received credentials from the incoming ambassadors of Kuwait, Bahrain and Montenegro.

Ministry moves to decriminalise minor crimes

The Lithuanian Ministry of Justice unveiled Thursday, November 14, its proposal to decriminalise less serious economic, financial and property crimes, applying only administrative liability for these offenses. Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius says the amendments would speed up processes involving crimes that cause major damage, and help reduce the number of prisoners.

MPs reject President’s second veto

The Lithuanian parliament overrode on Thursday, November 14, a presidential veto on its decision to add two road maintenance and construction companies, Problematika and Keliu Priežiūra (Road Maintenance), to the list of strategic enterprises. This marks the second time that the Seimas has rejected President Gitanas Nausėda’s veto. The latest veto was overturned in a vote of 81 to 26 with six abstentions. The Seimas added the two companies to the list of Category II enterprises of importance to ensuring national security on October 17.

Achema to appeal EU court’s decision

Lithuania’s fertiliser manufacturer Achema plans to contest the EU General Court’s decision to dismiss its action against state aid for the Klaipeda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.  The company’s lawyers have confirmed that they are working on an appeal to the EU Court of Justice. The General Court dismissed Achema’s action in September, ruling that the whole procedure of obtaining the European Commission’s approval for the state aid 6-7 years ago, including the size of the LNG terminal and the project’s implementation and funding model, was lawful.

Teachers’ trade union plans strike

The Lithuanian Education and Science Trade Union (LSMPS) announced this week it was planning to call a two-hour strike in late November. Egidijus Milešinas, the trade union’s leader, hinted though that the strike will be cancelled if the government meets the trade union’s demands regarding next year’s budget allocations for the education sector. LSMPS demands that an agreement on an additional 117 million euros for teachers’ salaries, signed with the Education Ministry two years ago, be reflected in next year’s budget.

Government approves climate change action plan

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, November 13, approved in principle a draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) setting out the country’s climate change objectives. The NECP has now been made available for public consultation. These commitments focus on the following three targets to be achieved by 2030: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent (relative to 2005 levels), improving energy efficiency by at least 32.5 per cent, and increasing the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix up to 32 per cent.

Deadline extended

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, November 13, extended, until late 2024, the deadline for Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG) to adapt trains and platforms for people with disabilities. It was done in compliance with an EU regulation that has yet to be approved by the Seimas. LG estimates that if the exemption is not extended, it will have to urgently purchase 32 trains, which would cost it around 449 million euros.

Arrests in Lithuania, Spain on human trafficking suspicions

Fifteen people have been arrested in Lithuania and Spain on suspicions of trafficking in human beings, Lithuanian law enforcement said on Wednesday, November 13. According to Nerijus Puškorius, the chief prosecutor of the Organised Crime and Corruption Investigation Division at the Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s Office, the individuals are suspected not only of human trafficking, but also of other crimes.


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