Lithuania begins destruction of Soviet soldiers memorial
Lithuania says it has begun destroying Soviet-era memorial at the Antakalnis cemetery in Vilnius
Lithuania begins demolishing six stelae of the memorial to Soviet soldiers at the Antakalnis cemetery in Vilnius, the largest burial ground in the country.
"As planned, the statues will be taken down in an orderly manner, in separate segments, which may take up to three weeks," Vilnius mayor said according to LRT media on Tuesday.
UN Human Rights Committee earlier decided to place interim protection measures on the memorial, however, the destruction of the stelae proceeded.
"Unfortunately, this work had to be postponed due to the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, but the launch day has already arrived," the mayor said then commenting on the decision.
Vilnius's mayor later submitted a request to remove the Soviet-era monument from the register of cultural heritage to pave the way for taking them down.
Later, the Lithuanian Culture Ministry said that it had drafted for the local authorities some detailed recommendations on the destruction of monuments to Soviet soldiers.
Read more: Two Soviet monuments defaced in Lithuania
The systemic demolition of Soviet memorials in the West comes amid rampant russophobia exacerbated by Western sanctions and the boycott of everything Russian following the war in Ukraine.