Olympic boycott wouldn’t be as significant as Russia's absence – Lithuanian PM

  • 2023-02-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - A boycott of the Paris Olympics would not be as significant as the absence of Russian and Belarusian athletes, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte says.

"There is no neutrality in the current world, and boycotting the Olympic Games is one decision, but it might not be as impressive as keeping Russian and Belarusian sportsmen out altogether," the Lithuanian premier told reporters in Tallinn on Friday.

"This is the preferred option," she said, speaking after her meeting with the Baltic counterparts.

The Baltic and Polish ministers responsible for sport matters decided during their virtual meeting on Thursday to turn to international sports federations and the International Olympic Committee and demand the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions.

The Nordic countries will also be invited to join the appeal.

It comes in response to the IOC's position last week that Russians and Belarusians could participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics as neutral athletes.

The Baltic countries and Poland are against such a move, with Latvia even considering boycotting the Olympics, if the Russians take part.

For his part, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said that Riga would condemn the decision to allow aggressor countries to partake in the Olympics.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that allowing Russians and Belarusians to participate would be unfair to Ukrainian athletes.