The Vilnius City District Court has authorised the Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate to demolish the Moscow House in the centre of Vilnius, LRT reports.

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“After the court granted the inspectorate the right to demolish the illegally constructed building, a cost of demolition will soon be estimated, and public procurement will be carried out to select a contractor who will carry out the demolition works,” the inspectorate said in a statement on Monday.

“The demolition of the Moscow House is expected to be completed by the end of 2023,” it added.

The idea to build the Moscow House in Vilnius was first floated in 2004 when the then Mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, visited the Lithuanian capital. The building had to serve as a cultural and business centre for developing “good neighbourly relations” between Moscow and Vilnius.

The construction works started in 2008 and stopped in 2016 when the building was found to violate construction rules.

The Building Committee petitioned Vilnius court, stating that the Moscow House was taller than described in the plan. The court approved the request and cancelled the building permit.

In 2017, the Lithuanian State Security Department (VSD) found that the Moscow House “has a relatively high symbolic and practical significance for Russia as a potential instrument of influence, politics, and public diplomacy”.

According to the Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate, Lithuanian law does not allow to legalise illegally constructed buildings, so the only solution is to demolish them.