VILNIUS - Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Presidents Gitanas Nauseda, Egils Levits and Kersti Kaljulaid on Monday marked the 80th anniversary of the start of the 1941 Soviet deportations in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Addressing their citizens and the international community in their joint statement, the three Baltic leaders urged people not to forget the Soviet deportations that shocked the world and maimed the fate of several generations of people, the Lithuanian presidential press service said.
"Today, with a minute of silence, we honor the memory of victims. But we must also speak up. Such events like the deportations started on June 14 had their reason. It happened because two evil forces - Nazi Germany and the Soviet Communist regime - entered into a secret agreement to divide Europe. By undermining countries' sovereignty, human rights and the rule of law, these two regimes caused unspeakable pain and sufferings," the president said.
They also reminded in their statement that the consequences of the Soviet occupation are still felt in the Baltic states 30 years after they regained independence.
Events will be held in the Baltic countries today to mark the June 14 deportations.
Latvia today honors the memory of victims of Communist genocide and around 16,000 residents of Latvia who were deported to Siberia on June 14, 1941.
According to data from the Latvian State Archive, Latvia lost more than 15,425 people in the June 14 deportations, including ethnic Latvians, Jews, Russians, Poles and representatives of other ethnic groups.
As many as 3,751 of the deportees were children younger than 16. During the deportations, men were separated from their families and taken to Gulag camps where many of them were executed, while others were imprisoned for years.