The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it was the victim of an information attack ©Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has said it was the victim of an "information attack", denying suggestions athletes from the nation would boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Lithuanian news website 15min reported that a scanned document, reportedly from the MFA, had been produced.

The document, which was reportedly sent to European Union members, allegedly said athletes would be prevented from participating at Beijing 2022.

The MFA has since released a statement denying a boycott.

"The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that falsified information related to Lithuania's participation in the Beijing Winter Olympics is being distributed in the public domain on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs," it said.

"We regard this as an information attack."

Lithuanian biathlete Tomas Kaukėnas also said he had been the victim of false information being distributed, allegedly on his behalf.

"Today, various sports organisations in my name received a letter in which Lithuanian athletes do not condemn the actions of the Government, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stands in favour of the boycott of the Beijing Games," Kaukėnas wrote on social media.

"Please be advised that I have not written any letter, I have not sent anything and the information is false."

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) wrote to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to reassure them that the message from Lithuania was false.

"The EOC informs all the NOCs of Europe that the information about the boycott of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games Beijing 2022 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and consequent ban on the participation of Lithuanian athletes at the Winter Olympics is false and was part of an informational attack, which occurred yesterday, 20 December 2022," an EOC statement read.

"The NOC of Lithuania has also stated that, at the same time, the letter including the formal appeal, which was sent yesterday by an Olympic winter athlete to all Lithuanian National Federations, is also deemed false and part of the informational attack."

Biathlete Tomas Kaukėnas said a fake letter had been distributed using his name ©Getty Images
Biathlete Tomas Kaukėnas said a fake letter had been distributed using his name ©Getty Images

It was announced earlier this month that Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda and Government Ministers will not attend Beijing 2022, but athletes will still compete at the Games.

Lithuania last week closed its Chinese embassy and withdrew diplomats from the nation amid a dispute between the nations over Taiwan.

China had downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania last month after the European nation allowed Taiwan to open an office in the country’s capital city Vilnius.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of China.

The build-up to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics has been dominated by political tensions.

The United States, Australia, Britain, Belgium, Canada and New Zealand are among the nations to declare they will not send Government officials to the Games.

France, Germany and Italy are expected to send officials to the Games.

Diplomatic boycotts have largely focused on China's record on human rights, particularly in Xinjiang but also in Tibet and Hong Kong.

In Xinjiang, China has been accused of using forced Uyghur labour, operating a mass surveillance programme, detaining thousands in internment camps, carrying out forced sterilisations and intentionally destroying Uyghur heritage.

Human rights campaigners have accused China of a genocide against Uyghur Muslims, while Beijing has denied the claims by saying the camps are designed to stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism.

Several of the nations executing a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 already have strained relations with China.