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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Latvia Indicts Former Soviet Partisan

RIGA, Latvia -- Prosecutors indicted a former Soviet partisan Friday for his alleged role in ordering an execution of civilians during World War II when Latvia was occupied by German forces.

"The man, Vasily Kononov, has been indicted for killing one man and giving orders to kill eight other persons, six men and three women," prosecutor Valdis Strelis said.

Kononov, commander of a Red Army partisan unit operating behind enemy lines, is alleged to have ordered the killings in a village near the eastern town of Ludza in 1994 because the nine Latvians were suspected of cooperating with the Nazis.

"This can be classified as a punitive expedition to Bati village ... because another group of partisans was killed there earlier in 1994 in a battle with German troops," Strelis said.

Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union at the outbreak of the war, but later passed into German hands when Nazi forces attacked its erstwhile ally.

The Red Army recaptured Latvia at the war's end and during 50 years of the Soviet rule, partisans were celebrated as heroes of the struggle against Nazism. Latvia regained independence in 1991.