Lithuanian MPs want to outlaw Russian military Z symbol

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By Euronews
The letter 'Z' is pictured on an advertisement screen in St. Petersburg.
The letter 'Z' is pictured on an advertisement screen in St. Petersburg.   -  Copyright  AP Photo

Two Lithuanian MPs have called on the country to ban displays of the Russian military 'Z' symbol following its invasion of Ukraine.

Lawmakers are debating amendments to outlaw the black and orange Georgian ribbon and the ‘Z’ symbol used to mark Russian military vehicles in Ukraine or show support for the invasion.

Anyone who displays or distributes either symbol at meetings or mass events could be fined up to €500 under the proposal.

The proposals were tabled by Freedom Party MP Monika Ošmianskienė and Social Democrat lawmaker Linas Jonauskas.

Ošmianskienė has said that she wants the 'Z' to be outlawed in the same way as Nazi and communist symbols.

"In the context of the Russian war in Ukraine, the Georgian strip and the Russian army invasion sign 'Z' become a symbol of not only propaganda but also aggression," she wrote on Facebook.

"Action must be taken as soon as possible and prevent war propaganda and hatred," Ošmianskienė added.

Lithuanian law already prohibits the display of flags, coats of arms, or symbols representing Nazi Germany, the USSR, or the Lithuanian SSR.

“For years, there has been talk about banning the Georgian ribbon," said Jonauskas, according to the ELTA news agency.

"It has become a propaganda tool and a tool […] to provoke, divide, and antagonise people, a symbol of aggression and violence, which has nothing to do with honouring those who died in the Second World War."

“The letter Z, which has become a symbol of the Russian army’s invasion, is already being used for intimidation and bullying,” he added.

Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda said on Thursday that the EU was considering further sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

"If you want to achieve a result, sanctions take time and the consequences come after a certain time lag," he told reporters as he arrived for a NATO summit.