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Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has dismissed as absurd the statements by Russian Ambassador Alexander Udaltsov about Russia's right to demand 72 billion US dollars in compensation for the Soviet Union's Soviet-era investments.
Russian Ambassador Alexander Udaltsov
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

The minister expressed astonishment by the timing of the interview, which appeared in the Litovskyi Kurier daily less than a week until the Day of Mourning and Hope that marks the start of mass deportations in Lithuania.

"This is an absurd statements – in some sense it is both baffling and angering, as it is stated virtually on the eve of the Day of Mourning and Hope, which marks occupation and genocide. Speaking about these things after the universally-recognized occupation of our country, the independence that was taken from us, the damage that was caused to the people and the state, speaking about some sums – it is indeed astonishing," the minister told BNS.

Linkevicius said that Udaltsov's move to lay flowers at the monument to Lithuanian guerrilla in a Vilnius cemetery on May 8, which the Western world celebrates as the end of World War II, was a "comprehensible and logical" step.

"The things that were stated here are difficult to explain in the logical and political sense, and morally it is very hard to justify the words," the diplomacy chief stated.

He expressed dismay over similar timing of the words by the Russian ambassador to Latvia where he "spoke about Latvians without much friendliness."

In the interview to the daily, Udaltsov stated Russia would not consider possible compensation of damages caused to Lithuania by the Soviet rule, adding that it was Russia that was entitled to compensation of 72 billion US dollars in Soviet-era investments in the Baltic state.