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2020.05.12 12:30

Russian-led Orthodox forum is a risk – Lithuanian MPs

BNS 2020.05.12 12:30

The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) is a risk to Lithuania’s national security, and MPs should refrain from participating in its events, according to the country’s parliament, Seimas.

The Board of the Seimas took the decision last week in response to MP Irina Rozova’s request in February, asking whether Lithuania intended to continue to participate in the organisation's activities

She informed the parliament that she had been invited to an IAO meeting, noting that Lithuania was a co-founder of the IAO.

Read more: Lithuanian intelligence names Russian-led Orthodox forum a foreign policy tool

Rozova attended an IAO meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia last june, when a speech by a Russian parliamentarian at the event sparked mass protests across the country.

Giorgi Kandelaki, the deputy chairman of the Georgian parliament's European Integration Committee, then told Lithuanian MPs in a letter that the IAO "has been recently dominated by Moscow," and taking part in its activities supports Russia’s foreign policy objectives.

Read more: Georgia calls on Seimas to end ties with Russian-led lobby that sparked Tbilisi protests

Vaidotas Mažeika, the deputy director of the Lithuanian intelligence service, the State Security Department (VSD), told reporters last August that participation in the assembly was "a risk factor to national security".

Rozova is a member of the Russian Alliance and of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance's political group in the Seimas.

Rozova had also been earlier denied access to classified information due to her failure to report her ties with Russian diplomats to the country’s intelligence service, VSD..

This sparked a parliamentary investigation and impeachment proceedings were then launched against the MP.

Read more: Seimas moves to impeach Lithuanian MP over links with Russian diplomats