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Kaliningrad Marks 750th Anniversary

1 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Three days of celebrations marking the 750th anniversary of the founding of the port city of Kaliningrad get under way today in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian territory that lies between Poland and Lithuania.

President Vladimir Putin is taking part in the festivities. Among foreign dignitaries expected to attend include French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Lithuania's president has criticized Russia for not inviting him to upcoming ceremonies marking the 750th anniversary of neighboring Kaliningrad.

Valdas Adamkus said through a spokeswoman on 30 June that "it is difficult to understand" why the celebrations will go ahead without the Russian exclave's closest neighbors.

Adamkus said the snub was harder to understand Putin has said it is important for Kaliningrad to cooperate closely with Lithuania and Poland.

Kaliningrad was founded with the name Koenigsberg by Germans in 1255.

It became part of Russia after World War II.