Flags of the three Baltic States were raised in Vilnius' Independence Square to mark the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of the State of Lithuania on Wednesday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu and other foreign ministers paid tribute to the state and people of Lithuania at the most important ceremony – raising of flags – marking the 30th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania's independence.
At the Independence Square next to the Seimas in Vilnius, the flags of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were raised, and the joint orchestra of the defence forces of the Baltic States played the national anthems of the three countries.
Today 30 years ago Lithuanians restored their independence. Cogratulations to all of you on this special day! Taking part of the ceremony in Vilnius was a great honour. ???????? ???????? pic.twitter.com/mclR3igb11— Urmas Reinsalu (@UrmasReinsalu) March 11, 2020
Reinsalu said that Lithuania and the other two Baltic States had made incredible progress after the restoration of independence. "Lithuania was the first country to shake off the shackles of the Soviet Union. Today, the Baltic States are free countries and their words carry weight in the European Union, NATO and the UN," he said.
"11 March – the day of the re-establishment of the independent Lithuanian state – is also important for Estonia. The decision made 30 years ago in Vilnius holds extraordinary significance in the process of the liberation of the Baltic States," Reinsalu said.
"We have been united in all vital political issues related to our security, freedom and future," he added.
Lithuania declared independence again on 11 March 1990. Unlike Estonia and similarly to Latvia, the restoration of independence in Lithuania was not bloodless.
On 13 January 1991, clashes between the people protecting the Vilnius television tower and Soviet soldiers claimed 14 lives. In 1991, Lithuania, along with Estonia and Latvia, became a member of the UN, and in 2004, they joined the European Union and NATO.
Editor: Helen Wright