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Lithuania's annual Mission Siberia expedition, organized annually to tend to the burial cites of Lithuanian deportees in Russia, will go to Kazakhstan this year after Russia barred entry to the mission's participants, the Lithuanian national radio Lietuvos Radijas said on Monday.
Almata, Kazachstan
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"Kazakhstan is unique for the fact that there were more of political prisoners there than deportees. People were kept in prison camps at several locations in Kazakhstan and their number, Lithuanians to be specific, was really high and exceeded 50,000," Mission Siberia manager Raminta Kėželytė told the Lietuvos Radijas.

The expedition will start on Jul 19.

Two Mission Siberia expeditions were due to leave for Russia's Krasnoyarsk Region on Jul. 17. But Moscow refused to issue visas for the missions' participants, accusing Lithuania of having frozen talks on an intergovernmental agreement regulating the maintenance of graves of soldiers and civilian victims.

The Mission Siberia project has been organized since 2006.

Around 130,000 people were deported from Lithuania during the Soviet occupation in 1940-1953.

BNS
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