A march to mark 25 years of independence: Lithuanians turned out for commemorations of the Soviet exit amid warnings their freedom could once again be under threat.
The celebrations were overshadowed by fears that Russia’s escalating aggression in Ukraine could spill over.
“A quarter of a century later, we need the same unity today. When the rattling of arms is heard again from the same direction. When firearms are used to stifle the voice of freedom,” President Dalia Grybauskaite said.
The icon of Lithuania’s freedom, Vytautas Landsbergis had an even sterner warning, accusing Putin of pursuing a policy to restore the Soviet empire.
“If the madman’s aggression is unstoppable and the empire is going back to its former colonies, our success story might became temporary and turn to ashes.” He added that Europe was unlikely to act in the event of a potential conflict.
Sending a clear signal to Moscow, the US has sent 3,000 troops to the Baltic nations for maneuvers.
It comes after Lithuania announced it was bringing back conscription following a Russian military drill on its borders.