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Prague Criticizes Russian Legislation On 1968 Czechoslovakia Invasion

A tank drives on a street in the Czechoslovak city of Trutnov during confrontations between demonstrators and Warsaw Pact troops and tanks in August 1968.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has criticized Russian legislation that it says misrepresents the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

The ministry statement, released on June 3, came amid reports that Russian lawmakers were proposing to amend existing laws for veterans, stating that Soviet troops participated in the 1968 invasion to suppress "an attempted coup."

The proposed Russian legislation reportedly describes the invasion as aimed at stabilizing the political situation in Czechoslovakia.

The legislation's definition "stands in stark contrast to international law and against the will of the legal representatives of the state at the time and the vast majority of its citizens," the ministry said.

The ministry said a 1993 treaty between Prague and Moscow explicitly stated an intention "to put an end to the totalitarian past associated with the unacceptable use of force against in 1968 and with further unjustifiable persistence of Soviet troops on Czechoslovak territory."

"We assume that the Russian side considers this contract to be valid and will avoid actions that would challenge its content," it said.

There has been no public statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, or the Russian parliament, about the Czech criticism.

Soviet troops, along with those from several Warsaw Pact members, invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968 to crush political reforms and anticommunist protests.

Known as the Prague Spring, the period is remembered as a critical moment in 20th-century history for both Czech and Slovaks.

Slovakia's prime minister, meanwhile, said ahead of a planned trip to Moscow that the proposed legal revisions "do not contribute to the mutual trust and good cooperation between the nations."

With reporting by AP
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