Lightning Bolt 2015 wargames end with military operation in Švenčionėliai

According to the exercise scenario, very active separatist groups occupied the city administrative and other strategic buildings, began resisting to the police. Lithuanian Rapid Response Forces, acting with other security forces, assaulted the occupied building and suppressed the riots, Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence said.

On the last day of the second phase of Lightning Bolt 2015 operations of the first battalion battle group of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Rapid Response Force were started. Early in the morning a runway in Gaižiūnai Training Area was seized from the alleged separatists. Immediately after that residents of Švenčionėliai town could observe a large-scale operation. All divisions of the internal security units acted jointly during the operation. All forces together quickly responded to the aggressive actions of separatists and started assault of the occupied buildings. The Public Security Service, part of Rapid Response Force and servicemen of the Fire and Rescue Service suppressed the riot, soldiers of Special Operations Forces unit and ARAS Antiterrorist Operations unit assigned to Rapid Response Force neutralized the alleged separatists who occupied Švenčionėliai municipality building and set the hostages free.

“The exercise aimed at assessing the interaction between units and at evaluation of the Rapid Response Force’s actions. By observing the course of exercises we determined the mistakes made, and I believe that we will avoid such situations in the future, ” said Chief of Joint Staff Brigadier General Vilmantas Tamošaitis.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, Deputy Minister of National Defence Antanas Valys, Chief of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas, Chief of Joint Staff Brigadier General Vilmantas Tamošaitis and other guests observed neutralization of enemy forces in Švenčionėliai.

Lightning Bolt 2015 concerned at spectrum of threats, from hybrid warfare to terrorist attacks. The facilities used during the exercise included such strategic objects as the LNG terminal, Klaipėda Seaport, Palanga Airport, etc.

Lightning Bolt 2015, organized by the Lithuanian Armed Forces Joint Staff, involved participants from all the services and commands of the Lithuanian Armed Forces – roughly 3,000 soldiers were training side by side with around 500 personnel of the Ministry of Interior.

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