Vilnius Wants to Stop Using Belarusian Salt and Asks the Government to Lift the Exception to the Sanctions Urgently

Today, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius submitted a request to the Government asking to impose national sanctions urgently on all products of the Belarusian company “Belaruskali”, including salt used for road maintenance. The current sanctions imposed on Belarus do not cover sodium chloride products, so Vilnius, under current legislation and according to lowest price tenders, is legally obliged to purchase salt from producers close to the regime of Belarus.

In 2019, the administration of Vilnius City Municipality carried out an international public procurement, which led to the award of preliminary contracts. According to them, updated tenders of suppliers are carried out and sodium chloride salts are purchased. One of the suppliers, which almost always wins public procurement because of the lowest price offered, is the private limited company “LIT Salt Trade”, which supplies road salt from the Belarusian state-owned company “Belaruskali”. According to the provisions of the Law on Public Procurement, Vilnius City Municipality has no legal grounds for rejecting the offer of the private limited liability company “LIT Salt Trade”. The contract with the supplier is valid until October 2022.

It is estimated that around 20,000 tons of salt would be purchased until the end of the contract for approximately EUR 1.6 million.

“We are asking the Government, as soon as possible, within two weeks, to impose, according to the grounds and assumptions already set out in Council Regulation (EU) 2021/1030, national sanctions on all products of the Belarusian state-owned company “Belaruskali”, which are imported from Belarus, because, considering the current political situation, it is totally unacceptable to finance the illegal regime in Belarus. It is likely that the main buyer of road salt in the country—the company “Kelių priežiūra”—and other municipalities are facing a similar problem,” said Tomas Gulbinas, Deputy Mayor of Vilnius.

As early as on 12 August 2021, the municipality administration applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Security Department asking to assess whether the supply of products from a company with links to the Belarusian regime is contrary to the national security of Lithuania. At the end of August, the State Security Department informed that this issue is not within the competence of the Department, but the Ministry clarified that prohibitions do not apply to contracts concluded before 25 June 2021 and that these sanctions do not cover sodium chloride products.

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