President’s advisor’s words stuck with expert: this is a unique threat to Lithuania

Suwalki Gap. Source

The “Suvalkų koridorius” (“Suwałki Corridor”) and the goods and transport corridor are one of the most significant threats to Lithuania’s security and a unique threat to Lithuania, Lithuanian diplomat, signatory Albinas Januška wrote on Facebook.

According to Januška, statements by presidential advisor Kęstutis Budrys that Lithuania has seven years to prepare to contradict the substance of the State Security Department‘s (DSS) threat report, and denial of the threat of the Suwałki Corridor itself could become a threat to the national security.

“The security services have finally publicly acknowledged, through their threat assessment, that the Russian military threat to Lithuania has not substantially decreased due to Russia’s war against Ukraine. “Kaliningrad is holding us directly in the line of fire. Nothing has changed in this situation over the years,” Budrys said.

Russian military capabilities in the Kaliningrad region remain important in isolating Lithuania, limiting the physical access of NATO troops to Lithuania in the event of a military conflict (A2/AD function). There is no better argument for why we need German, US, but also Polish troops in Lithuania and not elsewhere.

In the past, analysts and commentators involved in the military have argued that all-important Russian military units have been destroyed, so there is no longer any threat to Lithuania. But, unfortunately, this position has already caused damage.

An attempt was also made before the NATO Madrid Summit to talk about the threats that exist and that identifying these real threats is our most important trump card in justifying to the NATO countries the need to deploy more NATO forward defences in Lithuania. However, such threat arguments were identified as frivolous in Lithuania itself (I am omitting names),” wrote A. Januška.

Now, according to him, we can see the consequences of this unjustified denial.

“If Lithuania itself did not see the threat, why, for example, should the German brigade be in Lithuania and not in Germany? A few days ago, German Defence Minister Pistorius clearly formulated Lithuania’s task for the new Vilnius NATO summit. If you want a brigade, convince NATO that it is needed in Lithuania because Germany will do nothing on its own.

This means that Lithuania will have to convince NATO countries that its security situation is not as rosy as it was seen before and that Lithuania needs NATO forces in Lithuania here and now”, the diplomat said.

Januška said that the statements made by presidential advisor K. Budrys during the presentation of the DSS report that Lithuania has seven years to prepare for the Russian military threat contradicted the substance of the report.

“This kind of talk and thinking continues to show how relaxed we remain and how unserious we are, even about what our own military intelligence says. If we think we have seven years, let us not expect to see NATO forces in Lithuania any time soon and the necessary decisions at the NATO Summit. He wrote that without a serious deterrent, the threat to Lithuania will only increase”.

Another threat, transit to Kaliningrad, was not discussed in the report, Januška noted.

“I would guess this is due to political motivation versus national security interests. The document states that “if transit conditions are not satisfactory or economic problems in the area deepen, the Kremlin will likely choose solutions to increase tensions in the region”.

Meanwhile, the Presidency (it is difficult to see why this was necessary) has made it clear that there is no such ‘Suwałki corridor’ and, therefore, no transit threat.

But the so-called “Suwałki Corridor” exists precisely because it is an exclave of Kaliningrad, the only territory that is separated from Russia by the states of Belarus (which no longer exists as an independent state) and Lithuania (or by territories under Russia).

Let us remember that one of the reasons for the second wave of the war against Ukraine was the creation of a land “corridor” from the Donbas via Mariupol to Crimea, which Russia managed to do within weeks. And what remains Ukraine’s biggest problem if it wants to make real progress in the war is to regain those territories, regain access to the Sea of Azov, and isolate Crimea again.

From the Russian point of view, the other territory apart from Crimea, which is isolated from the Russian mainland, is Kaliningrad. It is, therefore, certain that one of Russia’s strategic military objectives would be, in the first place, to ‘connect’ the ‘eternally Russian’ lands of Kaliningrad to Russia through a land corridor. By turning on the propaganda when it was inevitable, and if the West defends itself, it will get a nuclear strike,” Januška said.

“We can only speculate as to the width of the so-called ‘Suwalki Corridor’ – Lithuania up to the Nemunas River (according to the Ribbentrop-Molotov lines), or the whole of Lithuania,” he added.

The diplomat noted that the security situation is further complicated by the “corridors” of goods and transport through Lithuania as Russia’s exclusive right to pass through foreign territory.

“Any attempt by Lithuania to regain its full sovereignty, to restore the EU’s full right of transit, while sanctions are in place, would undoubtedly be met with new threats from Russia (which is what the threat assessment talks about). This transit corridor is also an inexhaustible source of possible provocations if Russia needs them.

To identify this corridor as a major threat to national security is to acknowledge that, to a large extent, we have created it ourselves (not without Germany, of course). However, denying the obvious is also not an option.

The solution here is simple. The corridor came into being first and foremost through the efforts of the German Chancellor and the US under the pretext of not provoking Russia (at the expense of Lithuania). I do not believe Lithuania would have accepted this without pressure from anyone. This is one of the most important arguments of Lithuania to the NATO countries for the NATO Vilnius Summit”, wrote A. Januška.

According to Mr Januška, the “Suwalki Corridor” and the goods and transport corridor are among the most significant threats to Lithuania’s security and an exceptional threat to Lithuania.

“Therefore, the US and Germany (the “godfathers” of the corridor) should, first of all, think about how to reduce this threat through deterrence, i.e. deploying significant US and German military forces on Lithuanian territory. Deterrence against possible Russian adventurism.

However, when Lithuania denies or does not see this threat, this behaviour can become a threat to national security. Not to mention that one of the most critical arguments in the context of which Pistorius speaks is invisible and ignored,” wrote Januška.
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