At that time, 14 people were killed by tanks in the Lithuanian capital, and hundreds were injured. The confrontation with the Soviet regime actively continued from March 11, 1990.

Then Lithuania became the first of the fifteen republics of the USSR to announce the restoration of state sovereignty. Soviet troops left the country's territory only after the August putsch in Moscow.

Only in 2019, the Court in Vilnius sentenced those who prevented the achievement of Lithuania's independence. To those who supported the Soviet regime. There were 67 such people. Each of them was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to imprisonment for 4 to 14 years.

We, Ukrainians, are also choosing our right to independence. There is only one difference: Lithuania immediately understood that it was necessary to break relations with the Russians. And we hesitated for a long time. But won't anymore.

Then, in 1991, we also almost unanimously (92.88% of votes!) advocated for the independence of our state. We aspired to live not under the constant supervision and instructions of the Soviet Union. But! Unlike the resolute Lithuanians, we chose the path of "slow diplomacy" and democracy (with a false impression of it). Although at that time we did not yet understand that it was a direct flirtation with the Russian authorities.

Serhiy Magera

We made various concessions. Pro-Russian parties were allowed to remain in power. We were blind in our belief in the possibility of peaceful coexistence. And with this, we, Ukrainians, committed our biggest historical mistake.

After 1991, most of us realized everything. Many in everyday and social life tried to give up everything that connected us with Russia. I admit that my personal epiphany also came closer to the beginning of the 90s. The terrible truth about the crimes of the regime was revealed. Millions of Ukrainians have reconsidered their attitude to the events of the past. In 1991, I knew exactly how to move on. Exactly without Russia…

But not everyone took such a path. Many hoped to achieve "good neighborly peace" with Russia.

And then the judge brazenly barged into our house with a gun. In 2014, we lost Crimea and part of Donbas. And last year, the enemy went to Ukraine with a full-scale war.
Hundreds of thousands of dead. Hundreds of thousands are missing, kidnapped (!) and taken to the territory of Russia. Hundreds of thousands of crippled people and mutilated destinies.

War. What we were so afraid of when we went to "diplomatic compromises" back in 1991. What most of our people did not want to notice in 2014-2021. And what has become our terrible reality since February 2022. Something that could have been warned back in 1991. If we were as determined as the Lithuanians. If we went to the end...

P.S. Thanks to our Lithuanian friends for the history lesson and the colossal support of the Ukrainian people today!

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