Disinfo: Dalia Grybauskaitė’s opposition to the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant is an attempt to hide Lithuania’s own failures in nuclear power


Lithuania’s attempts to shut down the Astravets nuclear power plant in Belarus are an attempt to get moral compensation for the closed Ignalina nuclear power plant, given to Lithuania for nothing when the Soviet Union broke down, and for the scandalous failure of the Visaginas nuclear power plant project – a topic that is taboo in Lithuania.





Lithuania opposes construction of the Astravets Nuclear power Plant (NPP) as the project does not comply with the international standards of environmental protection, and is built on the site that was not duly justified over the alternative ones.

On 7 June 2011, Lithuania lodged a complaint with the Implementing Committee of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (the Espoo Convention) on the Astravets nuclear power plant case. The February 2019 draft decision of the Meeting of the Parties of the Espoo Convention acknowledged that Belarus had failed to comply with some Convention provisions and encouraged Belarus and Lithuania to continue bilateral expert consultations.

In her State of the Nation Address on June 11th, 2019, President Dalia Grybauskaitė, called to continue efforts for the complete shutdown of the Astravets NPP, stating: "Espoo Convention countries have concluded that [Astravets nuclear power plant] stands on an unsafe site. This is not about the safety of the plant – this is about its unsafe site. It means that no power station can operate there, and efforts to close the Astravets nuclear power plant must continue."

Following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the EU decided that so-called High Power Channel Type Reactors (RBMK) and other first-generation Soviet-designed nuclear reactors would need to be shut down. At the time of its accession to the EU Lithuania agreed to shut down the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which was built with the RBMK reactor.

In 2012 Lithuania conducted a consultative referendum on the construction of the new nuclear power plant in Visaginas, east of the capital Vilnius. 62.7% of voters were against the project.

For more disinformation cases on the Astravets nuclear power plant see here.


  • Reported in: Issue 155
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/06/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Lithuania, Belarus
  • Keywords: Nuclear issues, Conspiracy theory


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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MH 17: Buk-missile was delivered to the Ukrainian army and never returned to Russia

Russia has rejected all allegations that it was involved in the crash of the Boeing 777 that led to the death of 298 people on board, explaining that the Buk missile was manufactured in Moscow in 1986, but was later delivered to the Ukrainian army and never returned.


One of the multiple disinformation narratives on the downing of the MH17 denying Russia's responsibility.

The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

MH 17: Buk could only have been fired from Ukrainian frontline

The manufacturer of the BUK missile, the arms company Almaz-Antey itself conducted a field test. They exploded a Buk missile next to an aircraft fuselage, which looked similar to the Boeing that had been fired upon. The goal was to determine the angle from which the 2014 missile hit the Malaysia Airlines aircraft and thus locate every location from which the missile was fired.

The conclusion was that the missile could only have been fired from one area of the front line controlled by Ukraine.


The claims by Buk manufacturer Almaz-Antey were debunked already in 2015 by Bellingcat.

One of the many recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the downing of MH17.

MH17: BUK was transported to Ukraine in times of USSR

Russia’s Ministry of Defence thoroughly searched its archives and was able to identify the missile based on the fragments from the crash site. The Ministry determined the serial number and represented the entire life cycle of the missile.

The [BUK]-rocket, which was still manufactured in Soviet times, was brought to a military base in Ukraine in 1986. Since then, the rocket has never left the Ukrainian Soviet Republic nor, after the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the BUK missile was only transported within Ukrainian territory.


Conspiracy theory that the Ukrainian side was involved in the shooting down of MH17, with no evidence provided.

An example on the many competing and occasionally contradictory stories promulgated by Russian state-controlled media on MH17. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy (or: Pervomaiskyi). At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation.