May 9 commemorations would be absurd amid war in Ukraine – Lithuanian cultmin

  • 2022-04-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – There should be no commemoration of May 9th when the Russians celebrate the WWII victory over Nazi Germany as it "would be absurd", Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys says.

In his words, this should be seen in the context of Russia's war in Ukraine, but also in the light of intelligence and police warnings of possible provocations.

"I believe it would be really absurd if such events took place. I have already seen examples of mayors communicating that they will not issue permits for such events. I would also find it beyond comprehension how such events could take place. We have to understand that the potential for provocation on such a day is very real," the minister told reporters on Wednesday.

Earlier, Lithuania's State Security Department warned of possible "provocations or violent incidents" during commemorations at Soviet soldiers' cemeteries on May 9. 

Such commemorations are organized annually in various Lithuanian cities by Russian diplomats in cooperation with representatives of Russian compatriots. Several hundred people usually gather at these events, wearing the controversial St. George's Ribbons, which the Lithuanian parliament is currently preparing to outlaw because of the war in Ukraine and wearing them, as well as the use of the "Z" symbol of Russia's war in Ukraine, would be punishable.

The SSD also warned of possible attempts to make preparations ahead of May 9 as some European Union countries have already seen demonstrations in support of Russia's war in Ukraine.