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Trial Starts In Vilnius Over 1991 Deadly Soviet Crackdown

A trial has opened in the Lithuanian capital over the Soviet crackdown on the Baltic state's pro-independence movement in 1991.

Two defendants, both Russian citizens, Gennady Ivanov and Yury Mel, were brought to the courtroom in Vilnius on January 27.

The trial, however, was quickly adjourned after one of the lawyers fell ill.

In August 2015, Lithuania charged 66 citizens of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine with war crimes and crimes against humanity over the death of 13 people during the 1991 crackdown.

Apart from the 13 who were killed, more than 1,000 people were wounded when Soviet troops stormed Vilnius’s TV tower on January 13, 1991. Fourteen people lost their lives that day after another person died of a heart attack.

It was the deadliest action by the Soviet Army in trying to crush secessionist movements in the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

Ivanov, a Vilnius resident, was ordered by police not to leave the capital. Mel was arrested in 2014 while entering Lithuania from Russia.

Based on reporting by Delfi and Interfax