Lithuania to complete removal of Soviet-era statues after renewed calls amid Ukraine crisis

Lithuania is removing all the Soviet statues remaining in its capital, prompted by renewed calls to take down the symbols of an oppressive Soviet occupation amid the Ukraine crisis.

The spokesman of the mayor's office, Aleksandras Zubriakovas, said Monday the task is expected to last a few weeks.

Lithuania started removing hundreds of Soviet-era symbols after it broke away from Moscow in 1990, but several statues remain in the capital, Vilnius.

The four remaining statues, depicting Red Army soldiers, workers, students and peasants, were erected on the historic Green Bridge over the River Neris in 1952.

Earlier this year, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius pledged to remove the statues, despite opposition from several politicians and historians who oppose the plans for historical reasons.