Laurinkus. West has an opportunity, but whether it will seize it is uncertain

Kharkiv after the rocket attacks. Photo Marienko Andrii UNIAN

The enemy is at the gates, and the Lithuanian institutions responsible for state security are working on defence plans up to 2030. This is the worry that many people have after listening to discussions about divisions, brigades and various military equipment, Mečys Laurinkus is writing at the news portal.

Naturally, representatives of the Ministry of National Defence (MND) can only give an overview of the current defence situation in Lithuania. But the reproaches of the Seimas National Security and Defence Committee (NSDC) have led to additional questions, including whether Lithuania is ready to face the threat.

Based on previous reports, I believe Lithuania is basically ready for the toughest test. It cannot be said yet that war on Lithuanian territory is already tomorrow, but the darkest scenarios cannot be ruled out. Ukraine is preparing, as those who know the situation better will confirm, is already prepared for a counter-attack. In the opinion of Mr Kissinger, who is now a hundred years old, everything will become clear later this year.

It is true that on Thursday, Ukrainian President Zelensky postponed the attack for a short time but confirmed that it would definitely take place. The crucial question is: without the direct involvement of NATO countries (with troops), will the Ukrainians succeed in driving Russia out of the occupied lands?

It is going to be a hot summer and an even hotter autumn on the Ukrainian front. Though not the latest, the equipment on the battlefield is very serious.

Of course, it is not only the equipment that is decisive – the motivation of the Ukrainian troops to achieve victory is astonishing. There is not even anything to compare it with. If Ukraine ever becomes a NATO member, its army will be one of the strongest in the Alliance.

The Russian forces are being ‘brought up to speed’. This has been achieved by the celebration of 9 May around the clock in all the media, explaining that it is not Russia that has attacked Ukraine, but quite the opposite: the West is attacking Russia and wants to destroy it.

The war in Ukraine is, therefore, not just a war for the sake of war but a war of the homeland. And all of Russia must prepare for it.

It is difficult to say whether this convinces the Russian population. One thing is certain: there are no signs of an anti-war movement in Russia so far, and I do not think it is even worth hoping for in the near future. Mr Khodorkovsky explained six months ago that Russia would move after killing a hundred thousand its soldiers.

According to Kyiv, it is approaching two hundred thousand, and Russia has no resistance. Those opposed to the regime’s policy are choosing to leave the country as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, in Lithuania, too, there is concern about the population’s mood in anticipation of the looming clouds of a black scenario. A coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in cooperation with the Seimas NSGK, has prepared a questionnaire asking for responses to questions on how to deal with the prospect of war.

Would you withdraw from Lithuania, defend your country with arms, or choose other means of resistance?

I am unsure whether those who received the questionnaires will answer (even anonymously) what they really think or what they will do. There will be those who will make an economic decision – if the questionnaires are already being sent out, that means we need to get out of there as soon as possible.

The author of these lines is going to fight with a weapon, of course, if only one (not a hunting one) is given.

There is one question in the questionnaire that I could answer for others who are not involved in their work or activities with the state security institutions.

The question is simple: would you know what you have to do in case of war? I have no doubt that there will be people who do not know what to do. But most of them will answer according to the current situation in our country: I would know a little, but not much – there is a lack of information and training.

That is the reality. Many people in Lithuania know little about what to do when war breaks out on our territory. Frankly, more was known in Soviet times. There was civil defence training. Gas masks were placed in the basements of institutions. There were exercises.

A year or two ago, the Ministry of Defence published a brochure on how to behave, what to have, and how to protect ordinary citizens in cities, towns and villages in the event of the outbreak of hostilities. I hope that the MoD, the Parliamentary NSGC and the NGO enthusiasts will come up with a better information and training system. I also support the idea of reviving conscription.

As we can see from the example hundreds of kilometres away in Ukraine, motivation plays a special role. Patriotic education is virtually dead in our schools.

The important place given to the development of national consciousness in the Law on the Foundations of National Security is being erased from the educational curricula, and disciplines such as ethnic culture are being completely discarded.

After all, patriotism is directly linked to a nation’s history and traditions.

When Japan invaded Taiwan, the first thing it did was destroy the language and cultural traditions.

When the USSR collapsed, I was convinced that the wars would gradually disappear.

Famous political scientists have written about the coming era of peace.

Unfortunately, the opposite has happened. Perhaps the defeat of Russia will put an end to it?

I liked what Foreign Minister Landsbergis recently said to his party members – there will be another war. Preparing for war is a permanent state of affairs.

I had the opportunity to have a public conversation with the former Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Mr Vaitiekūnas, about the current situation in Ukraine and in the world.

In Mr Vaitiekūnas’ view, the world is divided into opposing camps, totalitarian and democratic. Conflict is inevitable.

The future does not look so black to me. Russia attacked Ukraine to seize Crimea and what is around it. The West has the opportunity to show that, in these times, this is not only not allowed but is also a severe punishment for aggression. But whether they will, I do not know.
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