Lithuania Convicts Russians of War Crimes Under Soviet Rule

3/28/2019

A court in Lithuania has found a former Soviet defense minister, Marshall Dmitry Yazov, guilty of war crimes over a deadly crackdown aimed at stopping the Baltic state breaking away from the USSR in 1991. He was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison.

Another 66 former Soviet military and KGB officials were given sentences of between 4 and 14 years for their participation in an assault by security forces on a TV tower in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on 13 January 1991 that left 14 civilians dead and hundreds injured. Only two of the defendants were present in the courtroom, the rest are believed to be residing in Russia and Belarus. Moscow has refused to extradite its citizens and says the trial is politically motivated and illegal.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite praised the court ruling. “The guilty have been named for killings of people who peacefully protected freedom," she said in a statement.

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BBC News