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Monday marks 26 years since the tragic developments at the Lithuanian checkpoint of Medininkai when seven Lithuanian officials were gunned down at work by Soviet OMON fighters.
Commemoration of Medininkai Massacre
© DELFI / Orestas Gurevičius

The memorial day kicked off with a church service at the Vilnius Cathedral, followed by a ceremony at the Medininkai checkpoint on the Belarusian border in the Vilnius district and a ceremony at Antakalnio Cemetery in the Lithuanian capital before noon.

The traditional relay race from Medininkai to Vilnius took place on Sunday.

In early hours of July 31, 1991, seven officers were shot and killed in cold blood at Medininkai border checkpoint, namely, Mindaugas Balavakas and Algimantas Juozakas (officers of the rapid response team ARAS), Juozas Janonis and Algirdas Kazlauskas (traffic police officers), Antanas Musteikis and Stanislovas Orlavičius (customs officers). Customs officer Ričardas Rabavičius was suffered a head injury and died in hospital on Aug. 2. The only survivor, customs officer Tomas Šernas, suffered severe brain damage and became disabled.

Lithuanian prosecutors have qualified this crime as a crime against humanity. Convicts for the crime include Konstantin Mikhailov, former OMON officer sentenced to life, while other former OMON officers Cheslav Mlynik, Andrey Laktyonov and Alexander Ryzhov have been convicted in absentia.