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Foreign Ministry Miffed by U.S. Envoy's Remarks

The Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the U.S. ambassador to Estonia for "grossly distorting the history of World War II" in a statement posted on the embassy's website to mark the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Tallinn.

"It is regrettable that U.S. diplomats in Tallinn again condone irresponsible attempts of certain forces in the Baltic states to distort the historical truth and to embroil the people of Russia and Estonia," the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.

Ambassador Michael Polt's March 9 statement called the military campaign "tragic both in its devastating loss of life and its military inefficacy," which "strengthened the already steely resolve of the populace to struggle against foreign occupation."

"This line is clearly in dissonance with constructive development of the Russian-American dialogue and is insulting the memory of millions of victims of fascism and all those who fought in the anti-Hitler coalition," the ministry's statement read.

More than 300 Soviet bombers attacked Tallinn on March 9, 1944 trying to destroy Nazi forces. Nearly 500 civilians were killed in the bombing, which many Estonians view as an act of Russian aggression, and the episode has remained a point of tension between the two countries ever since.

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