Moscow miffed by Baltic leaders' snub

MOSCOW, March 8 (UPI) -- Leaders of Russia's Parliament have expressed regret that Estonia's and Lithuania's presidents rejected invitations to Victory Day celebrations in Moscow.

Both Estonian President Arnold Ruutel and Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus announced Monday they would not attend May 9 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.


The president of the third Baltic State, Latvia's Vaira Vike-Freiberga, announced in January that she would attend the celebrations but would give her country's alternative opinion about World War II -- which has angered many Russians.

Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the international relations committee of Russia's upper house, told Ekho Moskvy radio station Monday, "Our countries could have (had) an opportunity during these celebrations in Moscow to draw a final line under this lengthy and difficult period of our common history."

Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the lower house's international relations committee, told Interfax, "The Lithuanian and Estonian presidents' arrival in Moscow would have offered a unique chance to deal with all outstanding bilateral problems. ... I would like to stress that this policy leading to further tensions with the Baltic countries is not Russia's choice."


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