War veterans mark Victory Day in Vilnius

  • 2000-05-11
VILNIUS (BNS) - World War II veterans, diplomats of neighbouring countries and a couple of Lithuanian politicians commemorated Victory Day at the Antakalnis cemetery on May 9.

About 3,000 former Soviet servicemen and their relatives gathered at the Antakalnis military cemetery where a large memorial to Red Army servicemen was erected in Soviet times.

The Russian ambassador, Yuriy Zubakov, the Belarusian ambassador, Vladimir Garkun, the Ukrainian charge d'affairs, Valery Chebaniy, the leader of the oppositional Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party, MP Ceslovas Jursenas, the chairman of the non-parliamentary Lithuanian Socialist party, Mindaugas Stakvilevicius, extended their greetings to the veterans on Victory Day.

The Russian ambassador underscored the importance of remembering those who had fought against fascism. On behalf of their respective governments, the diplomats laid wreaths at the memorial.

Answering a query on why Russia had no complaints with regard to the situation of war veterans in Lithuania, Ambassador Zubakov simply said that Lithuania was "prudent enough" to ensure that.

"If any legal misunderstandigs crop up, we undoubteldy will react accordingly. Howerver, so far, thank God, nothing of the kind has emerged," Zubakov said.

An hour before the official opening of the ceremony, about 10 supporters of the Chechen cause had gathered at the entrance of the Antakalnis cemetery carrying the Chechen flag.

The police officers patrolling the area reported that the Chechnya supporters had to be removed from the scene after a brief scuffle with the participants of the official commemoration ceremony.