A mural in Vilnius showing US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in an embrace has been vandalized. Owners of the grill bar that sported the mural say it could have been a political attack rather than simple vandalism.

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© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

The image depicting Trump and Putin, who have both expressed their respects to one another on several occasions, kissing one another was painted on an outside wall of the grill bar Keulė Rūke in central Vilnius last May. The mural has become a hit on social media and has made rounds across world media.

On Friday morning, it was founded painted over with white paint.

"We don't believe it's simple vandalism - it's a terrorizing attack against free speech in Lithuania. The point of this attack is to remind us, people of the free world, that advocates of authoritarianism are still active in our society," the bar posted on its Facebook profile, promising to restore the mural.

Dominykas Čečkauskas, one of the owners of the grill place, has told DELFI he does not want to speculate about who might have done it.

"Probably it was someone from the conservatively-minded groups - perhaps Trump's or Putin's or Christian or anti-gay supporters, but saying so would be speculation," he has said.

The bar has surveillance cameras and their footage could reveal who the vandals are, he has added.

"We believe it is kinda terrorist attack. Because what is terrorism? It is essentially intimidation. In our case, the painting was a kind of a symbol of freedom and self-expression and someone decided to say that, no, you cannot speak your mind freely in Lithuania," Čečkauskas has said.

Photo: Keulė Rūke
Photo: Keulė Rūke
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