Armed Kremlin troops surrounded Lithuania's legislative buildings and television tower Wednesday, witnesses said. The government of the secessionist Baltic republic called on citizens for protection.
Three days after the Kremlin ordered paratroopers into seven republics to enforce draft laws, the Lithuanian government's Bureau of Information said a Soviet military plane landed at the airport near Vilnius, the republic's capital, carrying 50 paratroopers.About 50 military trucks also were reported heading toward the capital, the Bureau of Information said.
The deployments were a sharp escalation of the Kremlin's actions in the republic, where tensions were already high because of an order sending troops to enforce conscription in the three Baltic republics and four other secessionist republics.
Lithuanian Radio informed residents that troops were moving in.
Also Wednesday, Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar met with Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov to discuss the order to deploy troops. Savisaar's spokesman, Sergei Chernov, said Yazov promised to tell the commander of the Baltic military region to hold off dispatching paratroopers in Estonia.
Lithuania is also plagued by internal trouble. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene quit after parliament rolled back price increases linked to market-oriented reforms.