Speaker of the Seimas: ‘In the context of the war in Ukraine, a white flag is only acceptable if Russia surrenders on the battlefield, rather than competes in sports’
Press release, 3 February 2023
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, met with Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee, on his first visit to Lithuania. Promotion and development of Paralympic sports in Lithuania was not the only item on the meeting agenda. The Speaker of the Seimas pointed out that in the context of the war in Ukraine, which had sent shockwaves across the world, including the Paralympic movement, a neutral flag was not and could be acceptable.
‘At the meeting, we extensively discussed the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sports events under a neutral flag. I underlined that Lithuania was active in this respect, demonstrating a strong and principled position and inviting other countries to follow suit. We must do our utmost to ensure that the international community adopts a consistent approach and disallows any participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Games, be it under a neutral flag or in any other form,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
According to the Speaker of the Seimas, Mr Parsons’ visit is a sign of appreciation for the Lithuanian Paralympic movement and a great opportunity for finding out whether we are working in the right direction and for concurrently gaining more experience.
‘Lithuania has one of the strongest goalball teams in the world, as well as outstanding track and field athletes and swimmers. Over the recent years, some legislative amendments adopted by the Seimas have led to significant changes in the funding of sports, including disability sports. Moreover, Lithuania is among the few countries to organise integrated sports championships in order to bridge the gap between able-bodied and disabled sports, to make sports as inclusive as possible, and to keep up with the global trends in the Paralympic movement,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
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]