Russia has demonstrated that it is an unreliable supplier of energy to Europe through unjustified and unacceptable actions such as cutting off electricity and natural gas to Finland, halting natural gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria, and threatening similar actions against other European nations. The European Commission and the United States condemn Russia's use of energy blackmail and reaffirm our commitment to strengthening Europe's energy security.
Across Europe, from the Nordics to the Balkans, efforts are underway to diversify supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas. Since 2020, Finland has been interconnected to Estonia via the Balticonnector, a project supported by the European Commission, which increases security of supply for Finland and the region. Furthermore, on May 1, the Poland-Lithuania Gas Interconnector started its commercial operation which reinforces optionality and resilience of the whole Baltic gas market and was also supported through the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Commission.
The European Commission and the United States understand the urgency of taking decisive action to reduce energy imports from Russia. Together, we are partnering to address these challenges under our joint Task Force on Energy Security announced by Presidents Biden and von der Leyen on March 25. Through the Task Force we will continue working to diversify Europe's supply of natural gas while we accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency and smart technologies in European homes and businesses, electrify heating, and ramp-up clean energy output to reduce demand for fossil fuels altogether.
As an important step towards realizing the goals of the Task Force, the European Commission and the United States welcome Finland's contract to lease a floating LNG import terminal from a U.S. provider that will be operational before the end of this year. /BGNES