„Two wars are happening at the time. The nearly World War in Syria, where a number of states are involved, and in Ukraine. Is it possible for the latter travel closer to us? I do not have information like this and I cannot see any signs. But maybe my binoculars are not strong enough?“ – wondered the former director of State Security Department of Lithuania (VSD) Mečys Laurinkus while assessing the observations of VSD representatives that Russia would only need 24-48 hours to get ready for a war against the Baltic States, LRT.lt reported.
After the report at the Parliament on Monday by the director of VSD Darius Jauniškis, yearly reports by other special services and the Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis talked about how Russia is capable of preparing for war against the Lithuania and other Baltic States in 24-48 hours.
„The signal is that Lithuania and NATO have to be able to prepare for conflict in 24-48 hours is a sign not only to us but to the strategists at NATO. Speaking about „Zapad“ [Russia’s‘ military practice, which are planned on September of this year in Kaliningrad] we need to notice the existence of allies in here, their commitment and that they are completely integrated into Lithuania‘s armed forces. Lithuanian military and their ready allies are here“ stated the Minister.
Is Russia‘s threat unjustified?
Lately quite often we can hear that the threat of Russia to Lithuania and other Baltic States as well as their neighbours is increasing.
Also, it was recently noticed that the former US vice president Dick Chaney while on a visit to India has announced that Russia might have plans against Lithuania and maybe other Baltic states as well.
“I have read Dick Cheney’s speech in India several times. He does not mention any Russia’s plans regarding Lithuania and just talked about general threats. Lithuania translated this as a “plan of some sorts”. Also, he being an honourable person, stated in India that he does not hold any governmental office does not have any secret information related to conflicts happening in the world and is only giving his insights. Those insights did involve insights that Russia’s President V. Putin did sound regretful regarding the fall of USSR. That is all”, stated M. Laurinkus while assessing threats to Lithuania.
The former director of VSD also once noticed that V. Putin critically assessed the political system of the USSR. Maybe he was even more critical than some political analysts. M. Laurinkus said that he thinks that the leader of Russia is more affected by Tzar Russia’s governing system and traditions.
“What we care the most about now is not V. Putin’s views. I cannot see any signs and have any information that the war in Ukraine could move towards us. And if the Ministry of National Defence or VSD have any information that would suggest that, then they need to share it right away” – M. Laurinkus is sure.
Since the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine he has counted more than two hundred publications in Lithuanian press that also mention threat to Lithuania.
However, M. Laurinkus is certain that the biggest threat to Lithuania is not the war in Lithuania but the increasingly tense relations between the US and Russia: “The tension is huge, informational and cyber wars are happening. Situation is really serious.”
Lithuania could learn from Israel
Artūras Paulauskas, the previous leader of the Parliament and the leader of the Committee (NSDK) for national Security and Defence, noticed that VDS and other intelligence units have already assessed the threats to Lithuania numerous times but it does not mean that a war might happen: “We are just being warned where the most real threats come from. Since the concentration of Russia’s armed military near the borders of Lithuania is big and various training practices are being planned, it was evaluated that Russia would only need 24 hours to get ready for real military actions. Even in Syria the paratroopers and aviation from Russia appeared in just a few hours.”
While remembering his work in NSDK A. Paulauskas stated that Russia was often seen as the most imminent threat to Lithuania but that it does not mean the possibility or start of war.
He also does not think that the Russian President V. Putin would plan a war against NATO. He thinks that a decision like this would mean losing.
“It is doubtful that V. Putin would agree to something like that. Ukraine is not a NATO member and that is why is braver there. We should take an example from Israel. They are almost constantly in a state of war, but people are working, create and live fulfilling lives” – stated A. Paulauskas.
Living peacefully is a solution
Gediminas Kirkilas, the former Minister of National Security and the vice leader of the Parliament, has also suggested to just enjoy life.
“Yes, Russia has concentrated a lot of military in Kaliningrad. Belarus has also demonstrate their ties to Russia as an ally. That is why we should keep watch but the threats do not mean the possibility of war”, stated G. Kirkilas.
He along with M. Laurinkus think that the military practice are right next to Lithuania and “Zapad” are seen as something normal while at the same time noticing that NATO could demand the number of observers.