The three Baltic countries say they will "scientifically" calculate the losses caused by nearly five decades of Soviet occupation so that they can seek compensation from Russia.

Estonian Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Friday that the claim by his country, Latvia and Lithuania would be legally justified as Russia has declared itself to be the successor of the Soviet Union after its fall in 1991.

The Baltic countries have talked about compensation before but never presented a sum.

Reinsalu and his colleagues from Latvia and Lithuania on Thursday signed a joint declaration, saying they would assess the damage "in a scientifically justified manner."

The Baltic countries were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940. After three years under Nazi occupation, they were retaken by the Soviets in 1944.