To commemorate victory of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas in 1300s that, according to historians, transformed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into the largest country in Europe, Lithuania will hold academic conferences and exhibitions, while Ukraine will build a monument and host a simulation of the battle.
The battle, which took place in 1362 or 1363, was the first major defeat of the Mongolian-Tartar unit in Eastern Europe, boosting the power of the Grand Duchy and Duke Algirdas in Russian-populated regions.
"Ukrainian government has declared their commitment to European orientation. Stressing European identity and key moments in Ukraine's history that are related to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, are important arguments in the Ukrainian government's bid to convince the society that Ukraine should be part of Europe and that it is a country of the European tradition," Lithuania's Foreign Vice-Minister Evaldas Ignatavičius told BNS.
According to him, Ukraine's European identity is a very important issue at the moment, as Kiev must "decide clearly on the direction and the pace that Ukraine is moving."
Ukraine's relations with the European Union have lately been tense over what Brussels believes are politically motivated court cases against former leaders. Growing Russian influence has also been an issue since Viktor Yanukovych was elected Ukraine's president.
In Ignatavičius' words, Ukraine thinks that the two centuries of "Lithuanian era" "largely determined Ukraine's European identity." This important point, however, goes largely missed in the Western world.
To celebrate the battle, Lithuania will hold a conference in May that should be attended by historians from Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, possibly Mongolia. Exhibitions of historical paintings by Giedrius Kazimierėnas will take place in Vilnius, Kiev and Brussels.
Ukraine plans a monument in the location of the battle, in addition to a simulation of the battle.
Under the rule of Grand Duke Algirdas, forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated the Golden Horde that was threatening Eastern Europe 650 years ago.