Since the start of the year Ukraine has imported more power from Belarus than in all of 2020.
Between January 1 and March 11, Ukraine imported:
- 576mn kWh from Belarus and Russia
- of which 83% (476mn kWh) came from Belarus
- 17% (100mn kWh) from Russia
Ukraine is joined by Lithuania, which was also reluctantly importing record amounts of power from Belarus, after Belarus’ new Ostrovets nuclear power plant came online at the start of this year just as a cold snap struck Europe.
Both countries have promised break ties with the Soviet-era power grid by 2023, as part of their re-orientation to the rest of Europe, but embarrassingly in the meantime they are reliant on Belarus to heat and power their countries.
Ukraine has found itself in a particular difficult position, as stocks of coal used to generate power and heat have fall dangerous low and below the minimum legally mandated amounts thanks to the high demand for heat and power this winter.
For its part, Belarus must be pleased as it built the Ostrovets NPP, constructed and financed by Russia, in order to wean itself off Russian gas imports, and also to make some extra money by exporting power to its western neighbours.
The facility is located only 70 km from the Lithuanian border, something that Vilnius is not happy about.