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Lithuania's Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis says he is astonished by the criticism over his meetings with the Russian and Belarusian ambassadors ahead of the Freedom Defenders Day, noting that the meetings were held to remind the diplomats about their countries' unwillingness to extradite defendants in the January 13 attempted coup trial.
Seimas Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis and advisor Kęstutis Kudzmanas listening to the Russian Ambassador
Seimas Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis and advisor Kęstutis Kudzmanas listening to the Russian Ambassador
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

"It was an opportunity to tell both ambassadors to note the trials in progress in our country and our aim to prosecute the people who now face charges in absentia, this is what the ambassadors were told," Pranckietis told Žinių Radijas news radio on Wednesday morning.

"What we discussed with the ambassadors was representation of Lithuania's interests, and they did not hear our questions with big smiles on their faces," the parliamentary speaker emphasized.

Earlier this week, Pranckietis met with Russia's Ambassador in Vilnius Alexander Udaltsov and Belarusian Ambassador Alexander Korol.

Hearings into the January 13 attempted coup trial started in a Vilnius court nearly a year ago, with testimony of victims being heard now. Some 65 persons face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, however, merely two of them are present in the courtroom, while others are tries in absentia. The majority of defendants are citizens of Russia.

Fourteen civilians were killed during the Soviet army's actions outside the Press Palace, the TV Tower and the Lithuanian Radio and Television Building in early hours of January 13 1991. Hundreds were injured in the attempt to overthrow Lithuania's administration.

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