After it turned out that Lithuania will be the only country of the European Union without any representation at Victory Day celebrations in Moscow this May, Lithuanian leaders explain that Lithuania will pay tribute to World War Two victims in other ways which do not include playing audience for the Kremlin's show of power.
Victory Day parade rehearsal
© AFP/Scanpix

Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius has downplayed the fact that Lithuanian representatives will not attend the Victory Day Parade in Moscow on 9 May. The minister has underlined that Lithuanian diplomats will pay tribute to the victims of the war on 8 May in Moscow.

Representatives of Ukraine and Georgia have said they will not be attending the military parade either. However, Lithuania seems to be the only Member State of the European Union which will not send its representative to the Moscow's Red Square.

The foreign minister said that military parades were always meant to showcase power. And the latest statements of the Russian government have shown that the victory in Crimea, its illegal occupation and annexation, will be celebrated. The foreign minister told news agency ELTA on the phone from Saudi Arabia that Lithuania does not wish to be part of such celebrations.

Linkevičius says that every country has its own position regarding the Victory Day Parade in Moscow and other countries should respect that position.

Meanwhile President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that Lithuania understands the significance of the end of World War Two, but the country's decision not to send any official representatives to the Victory Day Parade reflects Lithuania's and the European Union's opinion on the Kremlin's current foreign policy.

According to the president, only a few EU member states will send their representatives to the Victory Day Parade in Moscow. Grybauskaitė emphasised that Lithuanian and other countries' diplomats would pay tribute to World War Two victims in Moscow on 8 May, one day before the official events. The president said she would do the same in Vilnius.

"We appreciate and understand the significance of the end of World War Two," said Grybauskaitė. "But I do not think that now is the time to watch a military parade which will include the flag of occupied Crimea."

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