Lithuanian education minister under fire after reports of children taken to Russian paramilitary camps

Dainius Pavalkis
DELFI / Valdas Kopūstas

According to the leader of the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the minister should explain “the information that surfaced in the media that senior schoolchildren from Vilnius Sofija Kovalevskaja Secondary School are trained in Russian paramilitary camps to become Russia’s paratroopers.”

“This case has caused a lot of concern that anti-state activities are carried out in Lithuania by using Lithuanian institutions, namely, Lithuanian schools funded from the Lithuanian budget. We see how a spying network is being created by recruiting young people to go to those camps, allegedly for peaceful purposes, and they are most probably approached by Russia’s intelligence officers looking for people who could work after returning to Lithuania,” conservative MP Mantas Adomėnas told a press conference on Thursday.

“They gain military skills, also get indoctrinated, and might act against Lithuania, just like Russia is now training terrorists to fight in Ukraine. In other words, Lithuanian citizens are trained to act against the state. And the worst thing is that minors are taken advantage of, their lack of maturity is used as the opportunity to indoctrinate them and direct them against the state,” Adomėnas said.

The Homeland Union has turned to the Prosecutor General‘s Office over potential involvement of minors into criminal activities directed against the state.

“Those two schools, Sofija Kovalevskaja and Vasilijus Kacialovas, whose names were mentioned in this terrorist training case might not be the only ones. We therefore have turned to the Prosecutor General’s Office as we see signs of criminal activities here, including the involvement of minors into criminal activities and facilitation to act against the Republic of Lithuania,” the MP said.

“We need to investigate whether similar recruiting networks are not operated in other schools in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Visaginas as well as Vilnius District ethnic minority schools,” Adomėnas added.

The new website has reported that senior schoolchildren from Vilnius Sofija Kovalevskaja Secondary School are regularly taken to paramilitary camps in Russia and one of the goals of these camps is to recruit and train future troops for the Kremlin.

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