S. Šatūnas: Lithuanian companies operating in Russia must not be tolerated

Asociatyvi nuotr.

Simonas Šatūnas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, says that Lithuanian companies still operating in Russia are behaving in an unethical and immoral manner, and that their activities must not be tolerated. Moreover, he warns that they could be nationalised. 

He also commented on the information published by LRT that the factory of the "Vichyunai-Rus" group, owned by Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matias, which has not yet withdrawn from Russia, represented Russia's food industry in meetings with Cuban representatives in Sovetsk last year. 

„The ethical and moral... I do not know how much we can tolerate that such companies are still actually involved in building the Russian economy. Our position is very clear, and it is a pity that some businesses don't hear it," the deputy minister told LRT radio on Friday.  

„We always urge Lithuanian businesses to get out of the Russian market as soon as possible after the outbreak of war and not to become hostages. Unfortunately, we can see that those promises, which have been made for a year and a half, have not materialised, and frankly the activities are still ongoing. These activities have even been used for Russian foreign policy. We have constantly said that, we have urged them to go away, that there are many risks," said Mr S. &Scaron atūnas.

The deputy minister also warned of the threat of nationalisation of the company. 

„Russia is also moving towards nationalisation of companies. I do not know what the businesses that are still there are thinking, but nationalisation is happening. Just recently, Finnish, Danish and German companies have been nationalised. There are no prospects there, and that should have been realised long ago. Iša formal presidential decree is issued and action is taken – rightšwhen a company is no longer an investor“, – said S. Šatūnas. 

Remigijus Motuzas, the former Lithuanian ambassador to Russia, called the activities of the Vičiūnai Group in Russia unprecedented. 

„Other countries, not knowing what to do or not finding investors or who would buy these companies, have simply stopped their activities and these premises are empty. We all know that this is a Russian company, it enjoys Russian privileges and, in my opinion, it must leave as soon as possible. It simply has to close the company, as other countries have done. The company itself has to take radical decisions," Motuzas told LRT radio.

LRT Radio reported on Thursday that Rolan Ozarinskas, deputy general director of the company „Vichyunai-Rus“ in Sovetsk (Kaliningrad), and Edgaras Pečiulis, head of supplies, met the Cuban minister of food industry and his representatives in Moscow in April last year. The meetings were facilitated by the embassies of both countries.

It is reported that the „Vichy-Russian“ leaders were presented as the pride of the Russian food industry.

The Department of State Security believes that Lithuanian investors in Russia may be influenced by the Kremlin. The company's executives declined to comment on the meeting, as they do not want to jeopardise the company's sales process. Experts suggest that the Lithuanian company should be treated as a Russian company.

Lithuanian authorities say they condemn the company's decision and vow to ensure that the Vichyunai group is not allowed to take part in public procurement.