2019.07.31 11:00

Lithuania marks border massacre anniversary – 'Russia refuses to cooperate', says Linkevičius

Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS 2019.07.31 11:00

Lithuania on Wednesday marks the 28th anniversary of the Medininkai massacre, when in the early hours of July 31, 1991, seven officers were shot and killed at Medininkai border post by the Russian special police forces (OMON), months after the January 13, 1991 Soviet crackdown in Vilnius. 

An early morning service will take place at Vilnius Cathedral and solemn commemorations will follow at Antakalnis Cemetery and the Medininkai Memorial.

Lithuania had declared independence form the Soviet Union in March 1990, and according to a timeline published by the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, Russian OMON attacked Lithuanian border officials on 18 separate occasions in the run up to the massacre.

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius tweeted that "it is reprehensible and unacceptable that Russia to this day refuses to cooperate in bringing responsible for this horrific massacre to justice".

Mindaugas Balavakas and Algimantas Juozakas (officers of the rapid response team ARAS), Juozas Janonis and Algirdas Kazlauskas (traffic police officers), Antanas Musteikis and Stanislovas Orlavicius (customs officers) were killed in Medininkai on the Belarusian border.

Customs officer Ricardas Rabavicius was suffered a head injury and died in hospital on August 2. The only survivor, customs officer Tomas Sernas, suffered severe brain damage and became disabled.

Konstantin Mikhailov, a former OMON officer, is sentenced to life for his involvement in the Medininkai massacre, while three other former OMON officers, Cheslav Mlynik, Andrey Laktyonov and Alexander Ryzhov, have been issued the maximum sentence in absentia as Russia refuses to extradite them.