End of WWII marked occupation of Baltics by Soviets, says Bush
* Russia unapologetic on Baltic occupation
RIGA: US President George W Bush has set the tone for his visit to Europe and Russia by acknowledging in a letter to the Latvian leader made public Wednesday that the end of World War II marked the start of decades of Soviet occupation for the Baltic states.
“In Western Europe, the end of World War II meant liberation. In central and eastern Europe, the war also marked the Soviet occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the imposition of communism,” a spokeswoman from Latvian leader Vaira Vike-Freiberga’s office cited the letter from Bush as saying.
The US president is due to arrive in Riga on Friday for summit-level talks with Vike-Freiberga and the leaders of Estonia and Lithuania, Arnold Ruutel and Valdas Adamkus.
After the summit, Bush will travel to the Netherlands for celebrations to mark the end of World War II on May 8, and then on to Moscow for a ceremony to observe the 60th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany.
“During this trip, I will mark the sacrifice of America and many other nations in defeating Nazism,” said Bush in the letter.
Russia unapologetic: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov was unapologetic Wednesday for the Soviet Union’s taking of the Baltic countries and other territories after World War II as international pressure grew for Russia to recognize the annexations as a hostile occupation.
“When people discuss today, whether we occupied somebody or not, it makes you want to ask: What would have happened to you if we hadn’t broken the backbone of fascism? Would your people be among the living today?” Ivanov told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta. afp