Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Lithuanian court may declare Belarusians suspects in deadly Vilnius raids

By Zakhar Shcharbakow, BelaPAN

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General`s Office has asked a court in Vilnius to declare 30 more people suspects in Soviet troops’ violent raids in the Lithuanian capital in January 1991. There are citizens of Belarus among these people.

On May 17, the court declared 20 people suspects in the case, said the Prosecutor General`s Office.

Prosecutor General Darius Valys expressed satisfaction with investigators` work on the case. The investigation is needed to "meet the expectations of Lithuanians and restore historical justice," he said.

A total of 81 people, including former senior officials with the Soviet defense ministry, police and KGB, can face charges in the case.

Soviet General Uladzimir Uskhopchyk, now a Belarusian citizen, was the commander of the Vilnius military garrison when he sent troops to storm the city`s TV tower and television studios on January 13, 1991. The raid, witnessed by numerous Western reporters and filmed by Lithuanian and foreign television cameras, left 14 dead and dozens wounded. The attacking forces ran over unarmed civilians with tanks and fired on crowds that stood in the way.

Lithuania has repeatedly requested Minsk to extradite Mr. Uskhopchyk, but the requests have been rejected.