Soon the time will come when Russia will issue an official apology for Soviet occupation from the stand of the Lithuanian Seimas, according to Petras Vaitiekūnas, Lithuania's former ambassador to Ukraine and one-time foreign minister. He said this at a solemn parliamentary sitting on Tuesday to mark the 24th anniversary of the 13 January 1991 events.
Petras Vaitiekūnas
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

"But I still have a hope, a vision, perhaps it will sound incredible, just like words said during World War Two, in 1943, that one day Germany would be the backbone of the European civilization, the key element of the European civilization. That might have sounded incredible, but today it's a fact. Therefore, I see Russia in the future as part of the Western and European civilization. I see the time is coming when words will be uttered from this stand, and Russia's official apology for Lithuania's occupation by the Soviet Union will be offered," he said.

According to Vaitiekūnas, Lithuania is now part of the European civilization, but there are still "hordes of people who want to destroy our freedom and take our freedom away".

"I would like to stress that not a single Russian is our enemy until they have crossed our border, crossed the borders of the EU, crossed the borders of NATO, until the Russians have crossed the border of our friends with arms in their hands," the Lithuanian politician said.

It's the policy of Russian President Vladimir Putin that is the enemy, Vaitiekūnas stressed, as it is destroying the world order with a military force, destroying international law and treaties signed by both the Soviet Union and Russia. It is destroying signatures on those treaties, the existing borders, changing them by force, ignoring the facts of independence and sovereignty.

Date that made us what we are

Parliament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė welcomed the participants at the solemn ceremony and said that 13 January 1991 is as important a date as 16 February 1918 or 11 March 1990.

According to the speaker, the three dates mark three events crucial to Lithuania - the restoration of the state, the restoration of independence and the protection of independence. "Without the night of 13 January, we would not be what we are today. We were united by a painful and at the same time powerful experience of freedom. Freedom, against which even death is powerless," Graužinienė said at the Seimas.

According to Graužinienė, 13 January is one of the darkest and also one of the greatest days in Lithuania's history.

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