Lithuanian defence minister: Russia’s military doctrine confuses causes and consequences

The minister called the document, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, an adaptation of the 2010 doctrine “to Russia’s existing actions and the response of democratic countries”, by means of which Moscow “is trying to claim that Russia has alternative values to those of the Western world”.

The doctrine names “a buildup of NATO military potential and its empowerment with global functions implemented in violation of international law, the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure to the borders of the Russian Federation” as the top threat to Russia.

The document also states that the deployment of foreign military forces on the territory of Russia’s neighbors could be used for “political and military pressure.”

According the Lithuanian defense minister, Russia is trying to identify NATO’s additional security measures in Eastern Europe as a cause, despite it being quite the opposite.

“It’s like putting the cart before the horse. When NATO was not taking additional action, they militarized Russia’s western edge, the Kaliningrad region and annexed neighboring countries. And now, when NATO is deploying capabilities for the defense and deterrence purposes, they are trying to say that it’s the cause why they did that in Georgia eight years ago and in Ukraine a year ago. It’s a complete confusion of the cause and the consequence,” Olekas told BNS.

Commenting on Russia’s new military doctrine, he also paid attention to “the highlighting of internal threats, possibly, for fear of its own nation and citizens’ reaction directed against the existing government.”

But for the first time, the new doctrine says Russia could use precision weapons “as part of strategic deterrent measures.” The document does not disclose, however, when and how Moscow could resort to such weapons.

“It’s an attempt to show that it could attack not in a usual conventional sense but that certain key objects could be targeted, this way justifying their actions. We are getting prepared for all such actions, if we need to defend our territory,” Olekas said.

NATO will carry out an in-depth analysis of Russia’s new military document and then decide as to whether additional measures are needed in response to this document, the minister said.

“We need to have an even more comprehensive analysis of it. The 2010 doctrine underwent a deep analysis, and we took actions in response to it. It’s a modification, an update, taking into account Russia’s own actions. Of course, we will look into the new doctrine and will say whether we need additional measures or whether all of that had already been known from intelligence information and monitoring of Russia’s actions, and whether the decisions made at the recent NATO summit and member countries’ individual actions are sufficient, taking into account Russia’s new updated doctrine,” Olekas said.

In response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, NATO has bolstered its Baltic air policing mission and stepped up patrol in the Baltic Sea as well as sent company-sized contingents to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.

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