"This was probably the hardest diplomatic mission in my career. I will leave Lithuania with a feeling of disappointment over the unused opportunities that could have been exercised for the benefit of the people of our countries," the ambassador said in an interview to the daily Vilniaus Diena.
Chkhikvadze said that "today's relation of the Russian-Lithuanian political relations is far below the opportunities and expectations," adding that development is hindered by disagreements on issues of history and energy.
"At the same time, the burden of accumulated problems including the common history, energy, and other areas is yet another important factor that is keeping back the development of bilateral relations. It is impossible to solve them by way of warlike rhetoric only," said the ambassador.
Gas transit and power links
Russia is concerned about Lithuania's reluctance to strengthen electricity transmission links with the exclave of Kaliningrad and the lack of progress in solving the issue of gas transit guarantees, Russia's ambassador says.
"We are concerned about the unwillingness on the part of our partners to support Russia's proposal to expand cross-border power interconnections by modernizing or building electricity transmission lines on the border between the Kaliningrad region and Lithuania, [and] about the lack of progress in seeking mutually acceptable agreements on the key issues in the area of gas, including guarantees and conditions for gas transit via Lithuania's territory to the Kaliningrad region, position on the cross-border movement, etc.," Chkhikvadze told the daily.
The Lithuanian government says that it sees no need for additional grid connections with the exclave, where Russia has recently frozen a nuclear power plant project. Lithuanian officials have expressed doubts on more than one occasion about economic benefits of the project, citing, among other reasons, a lack of power links.
Also, with Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas), in which Gazprom holds a 37 percent stake, spinning off its gas transmission pipelines into a new company as part of the unbundling of the country's gas sector, it is important for the Russian gas giant, which is Lithuania's sole gas supplier, to secure the conditions for gas transit to Kaliningrad.
The ambassador also says that Russia is alarmed by the calls to choose between integration unions for countries involved in the European Union (EU) Eastern Partnership program, which should enjoy broad attention during the upcoming Lithuanian presidency over the EU Council.
"In the run-up to the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, we are somewhat concerned over the calls to dictate conditions to target countries of Eastern Partnership to pick one integration union or another," the outgoing ambassador told Vilniaus Diena.
Lithuanian and EU officials have repeatedly warned Ukraine it cannot expect to sign a free trade agreement with the EU, if it reaches an analogous agreement with the Russia-initiated Customs Union, which also includes Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The EU-Ukraine Association and Free Trade Agreement may be signed during the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November during Lithuania' presidency over the EU Council. In addition to Ukraine, the Eastern Partnership program includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, and Moldova.