The Lithuanian diplomat and EU Ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas will head delegates from the European Union at the Moscow parade for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on May 9.
This decision was made by the EU leadership, Usackas said. High-ranking EU officials are not planning to attend the Moscow parade, Lithuania's Delfi news site reported.
"I will represent the EU. The EU leaders have decided to send me to attend the May 9 events. Together with ambassadors from the EU member states and the United States, we will pay homage to dozens of millions of people who died during WWII," he said.
Many Western leaders, including the heads of state of all three Baltic countries, have refused to attend the event in reaction to Russia's aggression towards Ukraine.
Latvia has confirmed, however, that its ambassador to Russia Astra Kurme, will participate in the May 9 events, the Foreign Ministry's press secretary Ivars Lasis told LETA. Jüri Luik, Estonia's ambassador in Moscow, will also attend the commemoration, according to Estonian Public Broadcasting.
Lithuania is the only EU state that will be completely boycotting the commemoration in Moscow; it will not send any official representatives, including its ambassador.
Delfi reports that Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius explained the decision to journalists in the following terms: "The state of Lithuania was not involved in World War Two and we are definitely doing the right thing. After the war, as we know, we were occupied for another 50 years, so how can we celebrate freedom or democracy and mark the day as a celebration?" the prime minister said.