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PM will attend Winter Olympics ’out of respect’ for athletes

  • 2014-01-13
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius says he is going to Sochi Olympics out of respect to Lithuanian athletes.

Despite the controversy surrounding the game, Butkevicius explained his visit had been coordinated with the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee long ago.

"I will travel to Sochi out of respect to Lithuanian athletes," the prime minister said at a press conference after the meeting of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party's Council last weekend.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will take place on 7 February. President Dalia Grybauskaite decided not to go due to political reasons.

Other political leaders have also refused to attend the winter Olympics due to controversy surrounding Russia's human rights record and the current security situation in the country following two deadly suicide bombs last month near the Olympic venue. 

Russia has said it's stepping security operations in the area ahead of the Olympics. 

A record number of nine Lithuanian athletes will compete in the Winter Olympics this year. However, the exact number of Lithuania's representatives will be known by mid-January.