Presidential aide: the term "occupation" inapplicable for Baltic States

The term "occupation" cannot be applied to the Baltic nations, said Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the presidential aide.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow in view of the upcoming Russia-EU summit, Yastrzhembsky said Soviet troops had entered the Baltics in 1940 "in accordance with the agreements and expressed consent of the then governments of the [Baltic] republics, regardless of how their actions can be interpreted today."

"The USSR was not in a state of war and was not waging any combat activities on the territory of the three Baltic states, therefore there can be no talk about 'occupation'," he said in view of the Russian visit by the US president who described the end of WWII as "occupation" for Eastern Europe and the Baltics in his letter to Latvian leader Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

Yastrzhembsky also said, "the national authorities of the three Baltic states took the independent decision to withdraw from the USSR in 1990."

The presidential aide said the statement of the European Commissioner from Germany about the need for Russia to acknowledge Soviet occupation of the Baltics if it is to develop relations with the EU was "surprising."

According to him, the statement was ill-timed, "as it was made ahead of the historic date [the V-E day celebrations in Russia are due on May 9th] and contradicts all the other statements of the EU leadership."

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