Speaker of the Seimas addresses the Parliaments around the world and the International Olympic Committee concerning the issue of participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions
Press release, 30 March 2023
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, sent her personal letters to Speakers of Parliaments around the world; Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC); and Members of the IOC Executive Board calling on them to remain committed to the principles and values of Olympism and, therefore, to refrain from inviting or allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to participate in the Olympic Games and international competitions, without any reservations or further interpretations, including under a neutral flag. Concurrently, the Speaker of the Seimas took note that the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted unanimously a respective resolution on 10 March 2023.
Photo by the Office of the Seimas
Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen believes, ‘It is indeed a pity that organisations such as the International Olympic Committee, still have to be persuaded that Russia must now be treated as a country that one can reach out to for a single purpose only, i.e. to summon to the international tribunal. A clear position on this issue is therefore of paramount importance, especially in the run-up to the Paris Olympics’.
The Speaker of the Seimas goes on to say that she finds the arguments that sports and politics should not mix cynical amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine, where Ukrainian athletes, coaches and children are being killed daily by Russian missiles and bombs.
‘There is not the slightest doubt that Russia and Belarus are using sports for their own propaganda purposes and that they will try to find ways to get back into the Olympic Movement and other international sports competitions. Unfortunately, they do find such ways,’ says Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen.
The Speaker of the Seimas, therefore, claims that in the meantime we must do our utmost to ensure that Russia and Belarus can in no way circumvent the sanctions or use any loopholes to spread their toxic propaganda and finance this brutal war.
‘We take the view that the ban on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes should be maintained until Russia ends its military aggression against Ukraine, withdraws its forces from the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine, ensures accountability for the committed crime of aggression and war crimes, and makes full reparation for the damage inflicted on Ukraine, and until cooperation with Russia and Belarus under the rules-based international order becomes possible again,’ the letters by the Speaker read.
Please click here for the letter by the Speaker of the Seimas.
Please click here for the text of the Resolution.
Ilona Petrovė, Spokesperson for Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, tel. +370 5 239 6030, mob. +370 698 42 071, e-mail: [email protected]