Durbin Meets With Members Of Lithuania’s Parliament

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus, met with members of Lithuania’s parliament, Žygimantas Pavilionis and Laurynas Kas?i?nas, to discuss the continued congressional support for the Baltic States, as well as ongoing Russian aggression and interference in the region.  During the meeting, Durbin offered support to Lithuania as the nation stands firm with Ukraine and faces economic bullying from China for improving their diplomatic ties with Taiwan.  Last week, Durbin met with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyt?.

“Time and time again, Lithuania has proved itself to be a champion of freedom and democracy,” said Durbin. “Today, in the face of Russian aggression and Chinese economic intimidation, is no different. As Russian threats continue to loom large over Eastern Europe, the U.S. will continue to be a loyal ally to Lithuania and its Baltic neighbors as the nations uphold shared democratic values.”

Photos of the meeting are available here.

In June, Durbin met with Speaker ?milyt?-Nielsen in Vilnius,Lithuania, where he received the Aleksandras Stulginskis Star Award—only the second individual and first American to receive this award.  The new award honors Aleksandras Stulginskis, former President of Lithuania who served from 1920-1926 and was a strong advocate for a democratic republic. It was granted to Durbin for his decades-long support of Lithuanian independence and democracy and his promotion of parliamentary values. In February, Durbin visited with U.S. servicemembers at the NATO base in Pabrade, Lithuania.  In May, he and Grassley introduced the Baltic Defense and Deterrence Act, legislation to effectively codify the Baltic Security Initiative and create a complementary initiative at the U.S. Department of State. Durbin’s mother was born in Lithuania and came to the United States with her mother and siblings in 1911. 

Durbin is a cosponsor of the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022which would deepen economic and security ties with the Baltics while imposing crippling economic sanctions on Russia if it further invades Ukraine. In the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus, Durbin secured a $180 million appropriation for the Baltic Security Initiative, as well as a $255 million mark in the Fiscal Year 2023 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense proposal.