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Leaders from Ukraine, Poland and Baltics commemorate constitution anniversary amid Russia tensions

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FILE: People demonstrate on the 20th anniversary of Poland’s constitution in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, April 2, 2017.
FILE: People demonstrate on the 20th anniversary of Poland’s constitution in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, April 2, 2017.   -   Copyright  Czarek Sokolowski/AP
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The presidents of Ukraine, the Baltic nations and Poland are meeting in Warsaw on Monday to mark the 230th anniversary of their joint constitution, Europe’s first such written democratic document.

The neighbouring nations were one single state at that time.

The 1791 Constitution was intended to strengthen the country's political system and rule of law and protect it against aggression from neighbouring powers, including Russia.

Lithuania's president Gitanas Nauseda said Monday that his country will never accept Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and Moscow's military pressure on eastern Ukraine, or the Kremlin's attempts to influence Belarus.

“Lithuania will never recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and will be taking steps toward ending the actual occupation of part of eastern Ukraine,” Nauseda said. “Whatever happens, we cannot allow Ukraine to slide back into the past.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is due to hold talks with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, at a time of intensified conflict with Russia and tensions in eastern Ukraine.

Also attending the Constitution Day ceremonies are the presidents of Latvia and Estonia, countries on the European Union’s border with Russia and Belarus. They are scheduled to hold a televised debate.

Fighting the pandemic is also among the topics on the agenda.