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Lithuania Celebrates Restoration Of Independence

Lithuania is celebrating the restoration of its independence on February 16, with leaders in the Baltic nation saying the country will defend itself amid growing threats in the region.

It is 98 years since Lithuania's independence was restored, shortly after the end of the World War I during which the country was occupied by Germany.

"If Lithuania needs to defend itself again, we will not be alone as we were in some fatal historical moments," Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said in a televised address.

The former Soviet republic has expressed growing concern over Russia's actions in neighboring Ukraine and an apparent increase in Russian military activities close to its borders.

The Baltic states -- Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia -- officially call their time within the Soviet Union a "Soviet occupation" and all have since joined both the European Union and NATO.

Based on reporting by the Baltic Times and Xinhua