Ukraine support groups back Kasčiūnas after criticism over far-right stances

Ukraine support groups back Kasčiūnas after criticism over far-right stances

After several dozen human rights NGOs have criticised Laurynas Kasčiūnas’ nomination for the minister of defence over his former far-right affiliations and anti-human rights stances, Lithuanian Ukraine support groups have expressed backing for the conservative MP.

In a Facebook post shared on Thursday, activist Valdas Bartkevičius announced that Kasčiūnas is supported by organisations such as Blue Yellow, LDK Palikuonys, Peremoga, Locked and Loaded, Lietuvos žvalgas, Ukrainos namai, Lietuvių legionas, and others.

“The majority of Lithuanians fighting in Ukraine and people working in support organisations (volunteers) support the candidacy of Laurynas Kasčiūnas for the post of minister of national defence of the Republic of Lithuania. We are concerned not only about the future of Ukraine, but also about the future of Lithuania, so we want to see continuity and also a visible acceleration in the organisation of Lithuania’s defence,” Bartkevičius wrote.

Earlier on Thursday, more than 20 human rights NGOs appealed to President Gitanas Nausėda asking him not to appoint the head of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence (NSDK), Kasčiūnas, as the minister.

The NGOs criticise Kasčiūnas for his opposition to the rights of migrants and LGBTQ+ people. They also quoted his invitation in 2018 for German far-right politicians to come to Lithuania. Kasčiūnas has said this was a mistake.

President Gitanas Nausėda said on Thursday that he would decide whether to appoint Kasčiūnas, who was nominated by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė earlier this week, by Monday at the latest. The president promised to assess “all aspects” and said he was awaiting information from intelligence institutions to “facilitate understanding of the context of the nomination”.

Current Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas announced his resignation last week. He was asked to step down by Prime Minister Šimonytė who said she wanted to replace him with someone more active in pursuing changes in defence policy.

Source: LRT


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