Lithuania marks 25th anniversary of Soviet army's withdrawal

Lithuania marks the 25th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Soviet army.

The last Soviet army echelon left Lithuania at 11.46 p.m. on Aug. 31, 1993.

„It was a major victory for the state after restoring independence, and marked the end of real occupation," Minister of National Defense Raimundas Karoblis says.

A solemn ceremony will be held in Independence Square in Vilnius on this occasion. Troops from the Lithuanian army's Guard of Honor will raise the Lithuanian flag as the country's anthem will be performed and will perform their showcase program, the Ministry of National Defense said.

The ceremony will be attended by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Vytautas Landsbergis, speaker of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas, etc.

The Soviet army entered Lithuania in 1940, marking the beginning of the Baltic country's 50 year-old occupation which cost many lives.

Lithuania declared impendence on March 11, 1990 and started resolving the issue of the withdrawal of the foreign army. The first withdrawal talks were held on Jan. 31, 1992, and Landsbergis and then Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the final agreement on Sep. 8, setting the timetable for the withdrawal of the Russian army from Lithuania.

Around five divisions were stationed in the Lithuanian territory during the Soviet times, including around 34,500 soldiers, 1,000 tanks, around 180 aircraft and 1,901 IFVs.

Source: BNS
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