Lithuania presidential hopefuls: tone down Russia rhetoric

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The two contestants in Lithuania’s runoff election for a new president say they want to maintain the strict tone toward neighboring Russia, while easing sometimes harsh rhetoric.

Gitanas Nauseda, a prominent economist, and Ingrida Simonyte, a former finance minister, are vying to succeed the popular Dalia Grybauskaite, who has called Russia “a terrorist state.”

Both candidates have said they won’t go to Moscow and meet President Vladimir Putin unless Russia withdraws from Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014. It sparked fears that other former Soviet republics could be next.

The campaign ahead of Sunday’s second round has been dominated by voters’ anger over economic inequality — one of the highest in the European Union — and corruption.

AP

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