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Russia 'reviewing' legality of Baltic states independence

July 1 2015, 10:47

Image 0Russia's Prosecutor General is reviewing the legality of the independence of the three Baltic countries from the Soviet Union, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The move drew a furious reaction from Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, who said, "No one has the right to threaten" our independence.

Two lawmakers from the majority United Russia party argued in their appeal to prosecutors that decisions by the State Council of the Soviet Union, which granted independence to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were illegal.

The lawmakers claimed that the decisions "brought great harm" to the country and should therefore be qualified as "state treason", according to the appeal which is now under review.

The Prosecutor General's office is "reviewing the request by lawmakers in accordance with Russian law," a spokesman told AFP.

Lithuania was the first of three countries to declare independence in 1990, followed by Estonia and Latvia in rapid succession. The State Council, which was chaired by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, recognised their independence in 1991 in its inaugural session.

Lithuanian leaders reacted angrily to the review. "Our independence was gained through the blood and sacrifice of the Lithuanian people," Grybauskaite said in a statement.

"I hope this meaningless action will be stopped," Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP, calling the move a "provocation".

Asked about the lawmakers' initiative, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists he had "not heard about such a request", adding that Moscow has diplomatic relations and state agreements with the Baltic countries.

Russia has seen a number of bills calling historical facts into question.

Last year a group of lawmakers asked prosecutors to look into decisions taken by Gorbachev that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Source: AFP On photo: Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite speaks with journalists as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on June 26, 2015 (AFP Photo)

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