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Unpacking Lithuania's Energy Independence Strategy | Gintarė Skaistė | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Unpacking Lithuania's energy independence strategy

Over the past two years, Lithuania's economy was hit hard first by COVID, then by the Belarusian migrant crisis, and finally high energy prices late last year.

But now it's proving more resilient than others to the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Why? Mostly because they prepared for it, Lithuania's Finance Minister Gintarė Skaistė tells Eurasia Group's Shari Friedman in a GlobalStage conversation.

Indeed, the Baltic nation recently grabbed headlines when it became the first EU member state to stop buying Russian oil and natural gas.

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All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

Wimbledon to ban Russians & Belarusians

The All England Tennis Club, reportedly under pressure from the British government, has decided with “deep regret” to ban all Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament. A number of sporting events, including tennis, have banned Russian teams while allowing individual players to compete with no official acknowledgment of their country affiliation. But Wimbledon’s decision is highly unusual – the oldest of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments hasn’t banned individual players from competition since just after World War II. We have questions, and we’d be interested to read your answers via email. Is this a welcome public refusal to continue life as normal following an invasion condemned by the governments of 141 countries? Should sports and politics be kept separate? Is it fair to blame tennis players for the actions of their governments? Should the players’ expressed opinions on the invasion matter? What do you think? Write to us here.

A tractor applies nitrogen-based fertilizer to a wheat field in Germany.

REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Fertil(izer) ground for a global crisis

We've written about how the war between sunflower superpowers and major grain exporters Russia and Ukraine is already fueling a global food price crisis.

But there's a related catastrophe in the works for not only farmers but everyone around the world: a war-linked shortage of fertilizer from Russia and its top ally Belarus.

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Putin attends a meeting with government officials via a video link in Moscow.

Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Ukraine: Who wins a stalemate?

A month into Russia’s war in Ukraine, the two sides appear locked in a military stalemate. This grim standoff might last for months. Even if Russian forces can seize Kyiv and other cities, it’s far from clear how they plan to occupy them or to control Ukraine’s western border, a frontier shared with four NATO countries.

A lasting stalemate might pit a Russian occupation force and a government imposed by Moscow against an unruly civilian population and a Ukrainian insurgency armed with more Western-made weapons than Russia can’t contain.

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A Belarusian soldier during a shooting exercise.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: War spillovers, Biden bolstering allies, Modi’s free-trade rethink, Russian defection

Ukraine war spillover

As President Joe Biden meets with EU and NATO leaders this week, they’ll be talking about how best to prevent the war in Ukraine from spilling across borders. But Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will have much to say about that, particularly as he tries to punish Ukraine’s Western backers for making the Russian military’s job in Ukraine much tougher and for waging war on Russia’s economy via sanctions. On Wednesday, Putin announced that “unfriendly countries” that want to buy Russian natural gas must pay for it in rubles. That would force Europeans hungry for Russian energy to boost Russia’s sagging currency, which would help Putin finance his war in Ukraine. There is already much behind-the-scenes discussion in Europe on how to avoid that problem.

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Lukashenko attends a press conference following a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin.

Mikhail Metzel/TASS

Will Belarus join the war?

Russia invaded Ukraine entirely on its own. Only a handful of authoritarian states have (diplomatically) defended Vladimir Putin’s war. One of them was Belarus, whose President Alexander Lukashenko has allowed Russian forces to attack Ukraine from Belarusian territory and passed a referendum to enable placing Russian nukes on Belarusian soil.

But Putin seems to be pushing Belarus to do more — perhaps even enter the war as a combatant, which would put Lukashenko in a very tough spot.

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Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: Nuclear weapons — who has what?

Vladimir Putin has the Russian military on nuclear alert in response to Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But what does that mean in terms of numbers? Russia has the most warheads deployed — 1,625 — of any nuclear power other than the US. What’s more, the Russians could soon become the second country after the US to store nukes in another country. Belarus, a top Russian ally, recently tweaked its constitution to allow this. Here's a look at which nuclear powers have warhead stockpiles — and who's ready to use them.

Pro-Russian activists react to Russian recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Ukraine crisis: Was that an invasion?

In the space of just two hours on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin dramatically escalated the course of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. He unilaterally recognized the independence of the separatist regions of Eastern Ukraine, vowing to send Russian “peacekeepers” into the area, and delivered a ferocious 40-minute speech that, among other things, rejected the idea of Ukraine as an independent country altogether.

What does it mean, and what comes next?

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