Lithuania denies entry to eight Russian bikers

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Lithuanian border guards have denied entry to eight Russian bikers including at least one member of a pro-Kremlin group attempting that had planned a controversial WWII victory ride through Europe.

Lithuania denies entry to eight Russian bikers

Lithuania denies entry to eight Russian bikers

/ Vilnius (Lithuania) – 28 April 2015 15:57 – AFP

Lithuanian border guards said Tuesday they had denied entry to eight Russian bikers including at least one member of a pro-Kremlin group attempting that had planned a controversial WWII victory ride through Europe.

The border guard service said it turned away eight Russian citizens at the Baltic state’s borders with Belarus and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on Monday and Tuesday.

The bikers lacked maintenance papers or failed to provide information about the reason for their trip, spokesman Giedrius Misutis told AFP.

He said at least one biker admitted to belonging to the Night Wolves, a fiercely nationalistic motorcycle club backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The club had planned to cover 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) through Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria before ending in Berlin to celebrate the Soviet Union’s role in victory over Nazi Germany.

But neighbouring Poland on Monday denied entry to 10 pro-Kremlin bikers at the Belarussian border, arguing they did not meet the necessary criteria to be allowed in.

Misutis said four of those stopped in Lithuania had previously unsuccessfully tried to enter Poland from Belarus.

The planned rally — which got began in Moscow Saturday — sparked anger in Poland and Lithuania, both formerly under Moscow’s thumb during the Soviet era.

Many Lithuanians see the May 9 WWII Victory Day as the start of Soviet occupation rather than liberation.

Rally organiser Andrei Bobrovsky, one of those turned away at the Polish border, said Europe was “scared” the ride would lead to a growth in pro-Russian sentiment.

He had insisted ahead of the ride that the rally was not politically motivated but a tribute to those killed on WWII battlefields.

Tags : Bikers, russian, eight, entry, Denies, Lithuania

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