VILNIUS – Lithuania saw the last Russian soldiers leave its territory 29 years ago, setting a lead for other occupied countries to follow, President Gitanas Nauseda said as the nation marked the anniversary on Wednesday.
"Twenty-nine years ago, we set an example to other countries which also sought to get rid of the remaining occupying forces," he said at a commemoration event in the capital's Lukiskes Square.
According to Nauseda, Russia's war against Ukraine is a reminder that Lithuanians live in a dangerous neighborhood and must stand together with other free countries and defend their achievements.
The president noted that Lithuania is today "one of Ukraine's sincerest supporters".
Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania's first post-independence leader, also said that it has to be believed on the anniversary of the withdrawal of Russian troops that "Ukraine will also say goodbye to its invaders, sooner or later".
He underlined the role of Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first president, in keeping to the agreement to pull the troops out of the country, which declared independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990.
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.
Around five divisions, comprising some 34,500 military personnel, about 1,000 tanks, 180 aircraft and 1,900 armored vehicles, were stationed in Lithuanian territory before the troops' withdrawal started.