© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas speaks to the media after an extraordinary parliamentary session in Tallinn, Estonia July 18, 2022. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
By Andrius Sytas
VILNIUS (Reuters) – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has told his country that power cuts are possible if Russia kicks the Baltic states out of the common power grid, as it announces a defense readiness exercise.
“We must also be prepared for Russia to disconnect Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from their electricity grid,” she said in a televised address on Thursday evening, according to the government website.
‘It would be wise to be prepared for possible power outages – this includes government, business and every individual,’ she added, calling any disruption ‘temporary’.
Nearly 3,000 reservists were called up for an annual week-long defense drill in Estonia on Thursday, but the prime minister said there was no immediate military threat to the country.
She called on Russian citizens living in Estonia to ignore any summons to fight in Ukraine: “Don’t go there, because there is no going back.”
Thirty years after seceding from the then Soviet Union and 17 years after joining the EU, the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia still depend on Russia for a stable electricity supply. .
A 1.6 billion euro ($1.94 billion) EU-funded project aims to disconnect the Baltic states from their common electricity grid with Russia and Belarus in 2025 in favor of the EU’s decentralized electricity system. continental Europe.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told Reuters in June that his country was ready if Russia disconnected it from the regional power grid in retaliation for blocking rail shipments of some Russian goods to Moscow’s Kaliningrad enclave.
Europe’s ENTSO-E power grid will connect to networks in the Baltic states within 24 hours if the countries were to be disconnected by Russia, helping to avoid power outages, Lithuanian power grid operator Litgrid said in July.
“If Russia disconnects us, even today, we would be ready. Our analysis shows that the power supply would not be rationed, no serious disturbances are expected,” said the general manager of Litgrid.