Vilnius to name square after Russian opposition figure

VILNIUS, Lithuania — A grassy square next to the Russian Embassy in Vilnius is being named after slain Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, leading Moscow's envoy to say the name change was "motivated by political reasons."

The city council in the Lithuanian capital in May approved naming the square after Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin who was gunned down in Moscow three years ago.

Mayor Remigijus Simasius said Wednesday it was "a sign of honor to all democrats of Russia," while Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius earlier called it a "truly meaningful gesture."

Russia's ambassador to Lithuania, Alexander Udaltsov, said Vilnius was "aping" Washington, which earlier this year named a portion of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy for Nemtsov.

The street sign is to be unveiled Friday.

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