Russia’s Foreign Ministry has reaffirmed its view that the incorporation of the Baltic states by the USSR conformed to international law and was a response to the Baltic states’ own request. In a letter to Russia’s Duma setting out the Ministry’s official position, Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Avdeev wrote that Soviet troops entered the Baltic states in 1939 and 1940 in accordance with agreements signed by leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania with the USSR; and that the legislatures of the Baltic countries officially applied in 1940 for the countries’ admission to the USSR as Soviet republics. "Consequently one can not speak of an occupation or an annexation." The clarification had been solicited from the Foreign Ministry by the Duma’s vice-chairman, Sergei Baburin. Dated January 8, the letter was published on January 19 in the Estonian press. (Postimees [Tallinn], BNS, January 19)
The three Baltic presidents returned yesterday from the U.S., where they had signed the Charter of U.S.-Baltic Partnership on January 16 with president Bill Clinton. (See Monitor, January 19) In convergent statements, Lennart Meri, Guntis Ulmanis, and Algirdas Brazauskas observed that the occupation and annexation of their countries had been an indisputable fact which continued until 1991 and was so assessed by the world, irrespective of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s document. The presidents cited the provision from the Charter just signed in Washington, which — reflecting U.S. policy for the entire occupation period — reaffirms the uninterrupted legal continuity of the three Baltic states. (BNS, Russian agencies, January 20)
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