VILNIUS – With Lithuania on Tuesday marking the Day of Mourning and Hope – the day 81 years ago when the Soviets started mass deportations of Lithuanian residents into remote areas of the Soviet Union after the Baltic country's occupation – President Gitanas Nauseda has said that Russia is repeating the history of deportations in Ukraine.
“More than a million of Ukrainians scattered across Russia, the aggressor country, are today following the tragic path, which June 14 has come to symbolize to us,” he said during a commemoration on Tuesday.
“How many of them will return to their homeland? Who will protect orphans and children without parental care and hand them back to Ukraine…?” he asked rhetorically.
Soviet repressive structures started mass deportations of Lithuanian residents into remote northern areas at 3 a.m. on June 14, 1941.
Some 18,000 Lithuanian residents were deported over the course of several days, according to the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania.
Kyiv claims that Russia is doing the same in Ukraine and is deporting people to Russia from occupied territories.
“We cannot tolerate the dominance of violence and lies. Therefore, today, as we commemorate the victims of mass deportations in Lithuania, let’s each of us find the spirit of a fighter inside. Let’s all of us be united by the resolve to cherish freedom and fight injustice,” Nauseda stated.
The Soviet Union occupied Lithuania on June 15, 1940 and imprisoned and deported some 280,000 Lithuanian citizens over the occupation period.