The general did not rule out that the increased activity could have to do with the NATO exercise of 2,500 soldiers currently held in Lithuania.
“I want to note that a particular increase in activity of warplanes and ships of the Russian Federation is observed at the times when Lithuania or other Baltic states hold larger military exercises. The Iron Sword 2014 war games underway in Lithuania at the moment is not an exception. In this light, we can make a presumption that the phenomenon is more of a demonstration of power – a measure of indirect effect, which may be aimed at reducing the feeling of security of our population, undermining the nation’s trust in the army and NATO, as well as check the readiness and procedures that we and the Allies have,” the chief of defence said on his Facebook feed.
He emphasized that there are no data about preparations for military action, and Russia is “so far not infringing” upon Lithuania’s air-space and the exclusive economic zone.
“Feeling the public concerns about the recently increased activity of military planes and ships of the Russian Federation around the Baltic states, I want to say that we have no data suggesting this could be the Russian Federation’s preparations for military action in the region. Nonetheless, as we see from the Crimea case, it is very difficult to forecast what may happen tomorrow,” said Žukas.
“We cannot take military measures in response to the Russian Federation’s actions, as there are no legal grounds for it – the big neighbour has so far not infringed upon our air-space or the exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea,” the general noted.
In his words, Lithuania is not exceptional in the case, as “similar phenomena have been more active around other NATO member-states and partner-countries over the past years, as well.”