Lithuanian MPs propose stripping of citizenship from aggressors

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Lithuanian MPs propose stripping of citizenship from aggressors

In Lithuania, Conservative MPs believe that people supporting an aggressor are a threat to national security.

Lithuanian conservatives have penned a piece of legislation that would allow the stripping of citizenship from people who support aggressors, according to local media. It comes amid a scandal in the Baltic country over two of its nationals taking part in a figure skating show in Russia.

The proposed amendment will provide the punishment of a naturalized citizen who supports aggressors and poses a threat to Lithuania, the region and its allies, the reasoning for the amendment, as cited by news website Delfi on Thursday. The changes to the law were necessary because of the situation in Ukraine, according to the lawmakers.

The bill was sponsored by three conservative MPs and appears to be linked to a Russia-related scandal that hit the Baltic nation this week. Top Lithuanian officials were outraged after they learned that former Olympic skating stars Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas were due to star in a show in the Russian resort city of Sochi. The performance was organized by Russia's former Olympic ice dancer Tatiana Navka, who is married to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Drobiazko, 52, is a Moscow-born Lithuanian citizen and obtained Lithuanian citizenship in 1993 after she and Vanagas, 50, decided to represent the latter's home country in international competitions. They are not only dancing partners, but they are also husband and wife. The couple currently resides in Russia.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced on Wednesday that he had decided to take back the Order of Gediminas, a merit bestowed on the two athletes back in 2000, as a punishment for their Sochi gig. He also suggested that Drobiazko could lose her citizenship, which she received by a presidential decree, siding with Lithuanian MPs calling for such a move.

Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said he would support the stripping of Drobiazko of her citizenship and branded participation in the Russian show as a betrayal of everything the people of Ukraine are fighting for. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky retaliated this week against Viktor Petrenko, a 1992 Ukrainian Olympic figure-skating champion. The athlete lost his state grant because he played a support role in another Navka-organized performance in Russia.