George W. Bush has told the Baltic states that they have shown the world how to transform from communism to democracy. The US president visited Latvia on a politically sensitive tour ahead of celebrations in Moscow on Monday to mark 60 years since the end of the Second World War.
Both the Estonian and Lithuanian presidents are boycotting that event, arguing that the defeat of Nazi Germany simply paved the way for oppressive Soviet rule.
All three Baltic states are calling for an apology from the Kremlin.
Russia says it has already criticised the annexation and does not need to do it again.
Bush said the US backs the Baltic point of view.
“My position on that issue is very clear and has been clear about the occupation.
“And the position of my country has been very clear about the occupation ever since the occupation took place.
“We proudly flew the flags of independent nations above your embassies in Washington DC. And the statement was clear – we neither recognised nor accepted the occupation that did take place.”
Bush put further pressure on Moscow by saying Russia should be comfortable with having new democracies like Ukraine and Georgia on its borders.
The US leader also called for Belarus to become more democratic.