Baltic States protest against Moscow’s plans to celebrate Baltics’ «liberation» with fireworks

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Latvian, Lithuania and Estonian foreign ministries have summoned representatives of Russian embassies to issue protests against Moscow’s plans to celebrate with fireworks on 22 September Baltics’ «liberation» from German forces in 1944.

Estonia’s Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador on 10 June to issue a complaint in regards to Russia’s planned festivities.

Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu believes the announcement on the planned festivities in the Russian Federation is «a provocative step».

«The reoccupation of Tallinn did not bring freedom to Estonia; instead it brought the Soviet occupation, which lasted half a century. The legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia is and continues to be the foundation of our statehood,» said Reinsalu.

Latvia and Lithuania followed Estonia’s example on 11 July.

«Latvia condemns in the strongest terms the efforts recently prevailing in Russia to exonerate the crimes jointly committed by Stalin and Hitler, including the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. It is especially cynical to organise in Moscow, on the 80th anniversary of that pact, any fireworks for the ‘liberation; of the capital cities of the Baltic States,» as detailed in Latvian Foreign Ministry’s statement.

It was pointed out to the representative of the Russian Embassy Vadim Vasilyev that the festive firework displays planned in Moscow in honour of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Riga by Soviet troops from German occupation were regarded by the Latvian side as an «unacceptable and unfriendly action».

Lithuania also condemns Russia’s plans for festivities, stressing that the Soviet occupation commenced following the defeat of German forces.

«Therefore, the decision by Russia to fire gun salutes to mark the occupation of Vilnius, Kaunas, and other Eastern and Central European cities is not acceptable to Lithuania. Such a step is regarded as particularly cynical and provocative in the run-up to the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols, which created the preconditions for the start of World War II and the occupation of Lithuania,» Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry stresses.

Lithuania also condemns the fact that the Russian Federation denied entry to a group of Lithuanians who wanted to visit the graves of Lithuanians deported to Siberia.

«Russia is once again urged to abandon its selective approach towards the history of World War II and to stop denying the Soviet occupation of Lithuania,» the ministry stresses.

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