Foreign Ministry summons representative of Russian Embassy, expresses protest
On 11 July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania summoned a representative of the Russian Embassy and expressed a protest over the decision by the Russian Federation’s Western Military District to fire gun salutes to mark the anniversary of occupation of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, this Saturday, and Kaunas on 1 August.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that the victory of the Allies against Nazism and Nazi ideology plays an important role in the fate of Lithuania and Europe. The end of World War II, however, did not bring freedom to Lithuania due to the new Soviet occupation that lasted almost half a century and tragically affected lives of many Lithuanians. After the armed forces of Nazi Germany were drawn away by the Soviet army, the Soviet occupational structures were created and began operating in the territory of Lithuania. This was followed by deportations and repressions of the people of Lithuania and resulted in great losses to the Lithuanian society, economy, and nature.
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.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is regrettable that the “liberation” of Vilnius is solemnly celebrated a week after a refusal to issue visas to a group of young Lithuanians, who planned to visit the derelict graves of Lithuanians deported by the Soviet regime in the territory of the Russian Federation. 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.