VILNIUS – Lithuania has on Tuesday marked 28 years since Russia completed the withdrawal of its remaining troops from the country's territory.
On this occasion, a ceremony of hoisting the Lithuanian national flag took place in Lukiskes Square in Vilnius and a minute of silence was observed in honor of the fallen.
State leaders stressed that the withdrawal of the Russian army had marked the real end of the World War II for Lithuania and final freedom for the country. They also emphasized hybrid threats of the current period.
Freedom “is not and will never be the end point in the space of history of a state and a nation”, President Gitanas Nauseda said.
Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte stated that the last occupier soldier had left the land of Lithuania on August 31, 1993.
“I may say that the World War II, the hell of which was unleashed by an agreement between two dictators, finally ended for us on that day,” she said.
Simonyte emphasized that now “we also have to defend our freedom, homeland and our free people in our free homeland”.
Meanwhile, Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania's first post-independence leader and former chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas, warned about messages found in former barracks of the Russian army saying that the latter would return.
According to him, this was the purpose of regular Russian and Belarusian military exercises Zapad, which is why the Freedom Day was always marked with “a fist of military revenge” hanging above “our heads”.
The last military echelon of the Russian occupation army left Lithuania at 11:46 p.m. on August 31, 1993, ending a lengthy and difficult process of troops pull-out from the country which declared independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990.
Around five divisions were stationed in the Lithuanian territory during the Soviet times, including around 34,500 soldiers, approximately 1,000 tanks, around 180 aircraft and 1,901 armored vehicles.