Vilnius authorities turn to VSD over Russia's Yandex.Taxi
Vilnius authorities will on Thursday turn to the State Security Department (VSD) over business activity of Russian-capital company Yandex.Taxi in Lithuania, with the VSD refusing to comment.
Vilnius Vice Mayor Linas Kvedaravičius told BNS Lithuanian the VSD would be asked if activity of the Russian company, launching ride-sharing services in the Lithuanian capital on Thursday, does not run counter to Lithuania's national security interests.
"We spoke about this today in the morning after this information appeared, and the municipality is getting ready to turn to the State Security Department over this company's activity in Lithuania," Kvedaravičius said.
Yandex.Taxi spokeswoman Natalya Zhuravlyova told BNS Lithuania the ride-sharing app will operate in a similar way to Uber and Taxify. It launched operations in Vilnius on Thursday morning in a testing regime.
"We have about 300 vehicles of our partners connected to the application at the start. The prices are as follows: 1 EUR minimal price (includes 0.5 km ride), then 0.5 euro per each km. No charge for minutes," she said.
In her words, clients will be encouraged to use the app with a 50% discount for 10 rides to all new users.
Zhuravlyova also underlined that Yandex.Taxi won’t set up a separate company in Lithuania as it’s registered in the Netherlands. Moreover, she said, the company's cooperation agreement with Uber does not cover the Baltic states, and both companies will compete here.
Lithuania's national TV channel LRT reported on Wednesday that Yandex confirmed seven years ago it had provided data about its clients supporting opposition to Russian security services.
Kvedaravičius noted, however, that Yandex.Taxi already operates in Latvia and Estonia and their security services see no threat in that.
VSD spokeswoman Aurelija Katkuvienė refused to reveal whether the security department has any intelligence information raising doubts about Yandex.Taxi activity in Lithuania, adding that state leaders and necessary institutions will be informed about any potential threats.