Vilnius to be adorned with 33,000 Ukrainian flags for the NATO summit
For the duration of the NATO summit in Vilnius, city transportation will be free of charge, and the city will be decorated with Ukrainian flags, reports Delfi.
The Vilnius municipality approved a decision to provide free public transportation during the NATO summit. This resolution was unanimously approved by city council members. It stipulates that summit participants, showing an identification document with a special sticker indicating their event participant status, will also be able to use public transport free of charge on the preparatory days for the event, from July 7 to 9.
According to Rimantas Baravikas, Head of Vilnius Municipality's Traffic Organisation, this decision will enhance the city's image and will serve as a "gift" to the residents of Vilnius and its capital's visitors. However, due to this decision, the capital will miss out on €200,000 in revenue.
"This requires funding. Based on long-term observations, one day of free transport costs the city approximately €44,000 in lost revenue. Over four days, we will miss out on €176,000 in revenue. Considering the expected number of participants, 3000, we see that it will cost us approximately €24,000. Altogether, the city will lose about €200,000 in revenue," Baravikas said during a city council meeting.
The city council also approved a resolution to participate in the "Raise the Flag for Ukraine in NATO" initiative, organised by civic organisations "Strong Together" and Blue/Yellow.
Thus, the Vilnius municipality joins the initiative to support Ukraine's entry into the Alliance, and from July 7 to 11, no fewer than 33,000 Ukrainian flags will be hoisted in Lithuania's capital. The city authorities emphasised that these were purchased and will be hung up by the organisers. The initiative invites residents and administrators of multi-apartment buildings to join.
The chosen number of flags is symbolic - Ukraine could become the 33rd member of NATO.
The NATO summit in Vilnius will take place from July 11 to 12, with Alliance leaders and thousands of journalists from around the world attending.
Previously, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the North Atlantic Alliance to make a positive political decision about Ukraine's NATO membership at the July summit.
He also stressed the importance of continuing military support for Ukraine: "Weapons, armoured vehicles, aviation, air defence, artillery, ammunition, and everything needed on the battlefield. Democracy can and must prove that it is stronger." Moreover, it is necessary to continue to apply economic and political pressure on Russia, so the aggressor realises that it cannot defeat democracy.