MOSCOW, Russia – Russia has been listed as one of the main threats to Lithuanian security in the country’s National Threat Assessment report, prepared by the State Security Department and the Ministry of National Defense’s Second Investigation Department, released on Tuesday.
“In 2018, Russia continued its general military training, including in the neighboring Kaliningrad Oblast of Lithuania. In the short term, it intends to deploy additional offensive elements as well as air defense and aviation capabilities,” the report says.
According to the report, the Russian security services “very actively recruit” the Lithuanians, allegedly manipulating the common Soviet past.
The report’s authors also labeled Russia the main threat in cyberspace.
“Russia’s intelligence and security services pose a major threat to the Lithuanian cyber domain: they conduct intelligence gathering, disrupt the performance of IT systems and contribute to influencing […] Russia’s cybernetic activity is becoming one of the main tools used to achieve Russian geopolitical goals in not only times of conflict, but also in times of peace,” the document continued.
Russian-Lithuanian relations have been increasingly arduous, with Vilnius trying to portray Moscow as an aggressor interested in destabilizing the Baltic region. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Russia has never planned to attack any NATO member state.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the alliance acknowledges this but uses the pretext of alleged Russian aggression to install more equipment and battalions near Russia’s borders.
Earlier this month it was revealed that US military personnel displaced in the Baltic states have committed an act of vandalism in Kaunas, local media reported after months of silence.
According to Baltnews, the US military removed the Lithuanian flag from a prosecutor’s office in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city. The police received a complaint about the vandalism of a witness. He said the military not only removed the national flag but also tore it.
The incident occurred in April 2018, but was reported only recently.
At the time, local police officers discussed the incident with representatives of the Defense of Lithuania and the command of the United States Army. After the talks, it was decided to stifle the scandalous episode.
The US Army has been active in the Baltic States for many years. Experts noted that the countries of this region, after Japan, are where Americans behave in a way “that would not be allowed at home.”
At the same time, the authorities of the Baltic countries, regardless of the opinion of the population, continue to invite NATO soldiers into their territory in the face of a supposed “Russian aggression.”