Putin kills civilians: train station where Russians meet at war | Lithuania

As the night train from Moscow crashed into Vilnius Central Station, where a 10-minute stop was scheduled, a pair of curious eyes glanced through one of its windows, disappearing behind a curtain that hurriedly closed.

The passengers of the train drove to the Russian exclave Kaliningrad, which can be reached by rail only after crossing Lithuania, and on the outdoor platform they encountered images of war and destruction.

Twenty-four large photoswhich graphically depicts the bombed Ukrainian cities, the dead Ukrainian children and the bloody bodies of Ukrainians with fragments, the Lithuanian railway supplier LTG, which also supplies a locomotive pulling Russian wagons through the territory of the EU.

They all carry the same message in Russian, which is repeated through the public address system when the train stops: “Putin is killing civilians in Ukraine today. Do you support that? ”

“People in Russia do not have many opportunities to receive impartial information,” said LTG spokesman Mantas Dubauskas. “Maybe we can only change the minds of a few passengers.”

The installation at Vilnius Central Station symbolizes the Baltic nation, which seems not so overwhelmed by the war in the former Soviet state as it is determined to tell the world that it must finally stand up to Russia.

Poster on the damage caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine at Vilnius Central Station. The PA system is asking Russians going to Kaliningrad whether they support Putin’s actions. Photo: Andrius Sytas / Reuters

In the first days after the Russian troops on February 24. entered the land of Ukraine, Lithuania, which has been an independent republic since 1990 and a member of NATO since 2004, was overwhelmed.

“This has caused a lot of historical fear in my country,” said Linas Kojala, director of the expert group at the Center for Eastern European Studies. “I have received dozens of messages from friends asking what will happen next. Some asked if they should leave the country, perhaps to Spain or Portugal. Just look at the map of the region to make you feel uncomfortable.

Lithuania, the southernmost of the three Baltic EU countries, borders Kaliningrad in the west and a military corridor between the exclave and Belarus in the east, which would cut off the Baltic states from the rest of Europe.

But in the days since the Russian invasion began, anxiety in the Baltics has turned to determination. In the center of Vilnius, the number of Ukrainian flags surpasses the Lithuanian flags – they stretch in yellow and blue on government buildings, sprayed on the old city walls or wrapped like scarves in shop dummies.

April 1 Lithuania became the first EU country to announce that it had given up Russian gas and met its energy needs via a floating LNG terminal in the port city of Klaipeda.

Lithuanian swimmer Rūta Meilutytė painted red in a pond in front of the Russian Embassy in Vilnius.
Lithuanian champion swimmer Rūta Meilutytė is bathing in a red-painted pond in front of the Russian Embassy in Vilnius. Photo: Andrius Repsys / AP

It was also one of the first EU countries undermine their diplomatic ties with the Kremlin after taking reports of war crimes from Bucha, withdrew his top-level diplomat from Moscow and asked the Russian ambassador to leave the Lithuanian capital.

The news was visually emphasized by an artistic performance thrown out of the Russian Federation’s diplomatic base in Vilnius: last Wednesday morning, Lithuanian Olympic champion Rūta Meilutytė took a bath in a nearby pond, which was painted red with natural paint.

“We wanted to remind people of the importance of constantly watching what Russian aggression is doing,” said Berta Tilmantaitė, a journalist and artist who helped organize the protest. “I understand why people look at the country or get tired of the news.

“However, in Lithuania we know Russia and at the moment we do not feel fear,” Tilmantaitė said. Observer. “We feel a lot of determination.”

Those who want to find out what determines Lithuania’s outstanding position at this point in history do not need to look much further than the Vilnius Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights. Located in the former KGB headquarters in front of Lukiškės Square, the museum tells about the Soviet Union in 1940. In June, Lithuania granted an ultimatum to allow Red Army soldiers to cross the border.

Tensions between Moscow and Vilnius escalated after the Soviet Foreign Minister accused Lithuania of torturing and killing three of its soldiers. When the Russian army was already crossing its borders, the Lithuanian authorities handed over the country to the puppet regime. Much of the exhibition space in the museum was dedicated to those partisans who nevertheless continued to fight for independence.

Miglė Krikščiūnaitė, 25, and her parents visited the museum in the afternoon sun. Could the rest of Europe learn from Lithuania’s history? “The lesson in our history is quite simple,” she said. “Fight for your freedom. It’s that simple. ”

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