Lithuanian intelligence warns over provocations during Russia-Betarus war games

During the Zapad 2013 training
Reuters / Scanpix

“The well-developed levers of Russian influence in Belarus, the possibility of provocations or premeditated incidents on the Lithuanian and Polish border cannot be ruled out during the Zapad 2017 military training,” reads the annual report of security threats published by the State Security Department and the Second Investigations Department under the Ministry of Defence.

According to the document, Russia’s aggressive foreign policies, active build-up of military capacities at its borders and active intelligence operations remain the key threat for Lithuania.

Belarus’ defense minister recently said that Zapad 2017 on September 14-20 would involve 13,000 troops, adding that the exercise would be a defense training.

Lithuania’s intelligence said that “it is very likely that the actual number of participants of the exercise will be bigger, and the training scenario includes an armed conflict with NATO.”

After building up military capacities in its western territories and the Kaliningrad region, Russia could now engage in combat actions against the Baltic states within 24-48 hours, reads the report.

According to the security report, Russia will shortly station Iskander missiles in the region as part of planned rearmament, “depicting the step as an alleged response to NATO actions.” Up until now, Iskander were brought to Kaliningrad for training and later transported out of the Russian enclave wedged between Lithuania and Poland.

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