(QHA) -

Russia has reportedly reopened 25-year-old cases that may lead to criminal charges against young people who refused to serve in the Soviet army in 1990-1991, shows a request for legal assistance received by the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office.

"We have received such request for legal assistance. As the activities, which Russia lists among criminal deeds, is not criminalized in Lithuania, the request for legal assistance will not be processed," Vilma Mažonė of the Prosecutor General's Office told BNS.

The Prosecutor General's Office refused to reveal further details of the case.

Russia may bring criminal charges against the citizens of Lithuania who left the Soviet army or refused to serve there after Lithuania declared independence on 11 March 1990.

According to data provided by the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence, 1,562 young people refused forced service in the Soviet army after 11 March 1990. 67 of them were taken to Soviet military units by force, 20 were sentenced to jail terms, three faced criminal charges and three died.

Another 1,465 were forced to go into hiding, change their place of residence and leave families to avoid forced service or repressions by the Soviet army or the Soviet authorities.

The Lithuanian State Security Department has strongly advised that citizens who obeyed the government's call and refused to serve in the Soviet army in 1990–1991 not travel to Russia, Belarus and other countries outside the European Union (EU) and NATO for now.

QHA