Lithuania’s army chief sees no immediate threat from Belarus

  • 2023-08-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – There is no immediate threat from Belarus, Lithuania's Chief of Defense General Valdemar Rupsys has said.

“We are monitoring, the allies are monitoring, the Lithuanian Armed Forces are monitoring, as regards some kind of immediate threat ... it's definitely not there now, but I'm saying that both the Russian forces that are now in Belarus and the Belarusian regime itself are very unpredictable, so in spite of that, we have chosen both the objectives and the tasks, so as to have choices made as to how to respond to any situation," told reporters on Monday as he visited the exercise of troops of the Iron Wolf Infantry Brigade in Prienai District, South Lithuania.

The general noted that the army was currently operating "adequately to the threat".

“If we train according to the plans we have adopted for today ..., we will be certainly ready for any threat," Rupsys said.

Lithuanian and Polish leaders have said there are currently about 4,000 Wagner mercenaries in Belarus, with some of them stationed close to the two countries' borders. 

Rustamas Liubajevas, the commander of the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service, has said, however, that there could be up to 4,500 of them.

The chief of defense also said that an exercise where border guards and troops would train to operate according to the scenarios foreseen in the updated state border protection plan would take place at the border this month.

The exercise is scheduled for Friday and the involvement of Polish, Latvian and Estonian internal affairs officers is being considered.

"We are certainly doing as much as we need to. The very idea is not to be tied to the border area, because the border is very wide ... We have plans on how, where, when and with whom we would react, but we don't necessarily have to train at the border", the general said.