By Nick Butler

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius plans to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi ©AFP/Getty ImagesDecember 20 - In the latest "will they won't they" saga involving an international leader travelling to Sochi 2014, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius is set to attend although President Dalia Grybauskaitė has confirmed she will stay away.

Since achieving independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Lithuania has held a frosty relationship with Russia and left its sphere of influence by joining the European Union (EU) in 2004.

In recent months Lithuania has used its rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU to attempt to draw other Soviet nations into the organisation only for Russia to respond by banning some Lithuanian dairy imports.

Grybauskaitė said that "amid the current situation where I see human rights violations, as well as an attitude towards and treatment of Eastern partners, including Lithuania, and the economic sanctions that have been applied against Lithuania, I do not see a political possibility of going to the Sochi Games."

But, it is now understood that Butkevičius' - who as Prime Minister is Head of Government in comparison with Grybauskaitė Presidential role as Head of State - will attend.

This was revealed by the President of the National Olympic Committee Daina Gudzinevičiūtė, who told the Baltic News Service that, "as far as we know, the Prime Minister plans to go."

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė announced that she will not attend earlier this week ©AFP/Getty ImagesLithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė announced that she will not attend earlier this week ©AFP/Getty Images

Grybauskaitė has become the latest figure from a former Soviet country, after Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti and the entire Government of Georgia, to announce their non-attendance.

Latvian Presidential counterpart Andris Berzins, however, has announced he will attend claiming boycotts are a reflection of the spirit of the Cold War.

Lithuania also looks set to follow in the footsteps of other countries who will send a high profile representative but not their foremost leader.

After German President Joachim Gauck said he would stay away earlier this month, and with Chancellor Angela Merkel unlikely to attend, Thomas de Maiziere is expected to lead the German delegation.

A spokesman in Berlin said that "Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere will travel as the German Minister of Sports to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi to attend sporting competitions and support the German athletes on site."

Thomas de Maiziere will lead the German delegation in Sochi ©Getty ImagesThomas de Maiziere will lead the German delegation in Sochi, it has been announced
©Getty Images

Britain seems likely to take a similar approach, with Sports, Tourism and Equality Minister Helen Grant set to attend.

However other countries, such as France, look set to avoid sending any Government representative.

Most damagingly of all, the US delegation will include neither President Barrack Obama nor vice-president Joe Biden.

In what has been interpreted as a direct snub of Russia's gay-rights policy, it will instead be headed by three openly gay figures in former tennis player Billie-Jean King, two-time ice hockey Olympic medallist Caitlin Cahow and Calgary 1988 figure skating champion Brian Boitano.

Reflecting on this choice, President Obama insisted that "when it comes to the Olympics and athletic performance, we don't make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation.

"We judge people on how they perform, both on the court and off the court."