Video: Ukrainian crisis rekindles Baltic fears
On the 25th anniversary of the Baltic states’ independence, FRANCE 24 returned to Latvia and Lithuania. In these countries, invaded by Soviet troops a quarter of a century ago, the Ukrainian crisis has reopened the wounds of the past and accentuated the threat of an increasingly unpredictable Russian neighbour.
In 1989, the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet bloc collapsed. All eyes were on Germany and Eastern Europe. The three small Baltic states continued to fight to regain their independence. But Moscow did not see it that way and intervened in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, “Bloody Sunday” on January 13th, 1991 left nearly 50 dead.
Moscow only finally recognised the three countries’ independence a few months later.
Today, the Baltic states, which are members of the EU and NATO, are firmly tied to the West. But since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the atmosphere has changed. For Baltic countries, the neighbouring Russian giant, considered unpredictable, is again causing concern. Twenty-five years after the independence of the Baltic states, FRANCE 24 returned to Riga, in Latvia, and Vilnius, in Lithuania, to meet with those who fought for independence and young people who were born after the country regained its independence.